ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) This time last year Collin Delia was wrapping up his junior season at Merrimack College and after just one year of playing pro and climbing the ranks of the Blackhawks system, the Rancho Cucamonga native understands things may not always go his way.
"Every success that you had and every failure that you had this year is wiped away and you have to earn it all over again," said Delia.
The successes during his first year as a pro can make one forget about how Delia's season actually began.
The 23-year-old won just two of his first 15 starts, but he believes those experiences only made him better.
"To have setbacks, to have challenges, I like to use those as springboards," Delia said. "I don't want things to come easy. Perhaps maybe it is to learn the hard way sometimes and to go through these trials and tribulations."
But after winning 16 of his final 23 starts, and propelling the IceHogs to their first Western Conference Finals, the rookie lost three straight and Rockford pulled him.
Delia learned the hard way.
"Dealia was great for us and then when we felt like it was time to make a change, Glass steps in and plays as well as he's played all season when everything's on the line," said IceHogs head coach Jeremy Colliton. "That was fantastic to see and how they worked together. We preach that throughout our group team first mentality, team first decisions and they set a tone there."
Delia watched his goalie mentor Jeff Glass ride it out until the end and, along the way, received an important lesson of team first.
"If you use it as a springboard to get back out there and train and earn it every day, I think that's the right way," said Delia. "You can't look at it from a selfish standpoint like 'Why am I not in?' You can't look at it like that. It's what's best for the team and sometimes what's best for the team is not always you."