Colby College recently received a commitment from Taft forward Henry Molson, who is a Quebec native but also spends a lot of time in the summer in the Maine area.
Molson will enter his second year at Taft this upcoming season; last year, in his first year with the program, he recorded 12 points (5 goals, 7 assists) in 22 games. Prior to joining Taft, Molson spent two seasons with Loyola High School in Quebec, where he had 43 points (including 20 goals) in 19 games during his final season.
NZ: Growing up in Quebec, hockey is probably a rite of passage. But how did you get into the game?
Molson: “Where I’m from, everyone gives it a go at some point. Once I started playing I immediately fell in love with it and I never stopped. I started playing when I was about seven years old. Whether it’s house league or inter-city hockey, everyone tries it. Obviously people taper off as you get older, but a large population of my friends all play.”
NZ: I imagine you grew up a Habs fan?
Molson: “Yes. I live about five minutes from downtown and the Bell Centre is a great place to watch a game. It’s special. I played there in some small games as a kid. Every year they select a few teams to play in some exhibitions and I was lucky enough to get chosen one year.”
NZ: Was it weird moving to New England to play a Taft? Right in the heart of Bruins and Rangers country?
“We all love the rivalries. All of us, we all watch the games in our dorm and it’s fun to trash talk to each other about the standings and whatnot.”
NZ: What do you see as the strengths in your game?
Molson: “I like to shoot the puck a lot and my hands are good in tight spaces. I think my hockey IQ is one of the strongest parts of my game. I’m not slow, but I’d be lying if I told you I was the fastest guy out there, so I try to make up for it by making smart decisions with and without the puck.”
NZ: What are some things you’re looking to improve upon this season?
Molson: “I want to use my shot more. Last year I had chances to shoot the puck, but not as much as I’d like. Sometimes I think I would pass up opportunities to shoot.
“This summer I worked a lot on my first three steps. I’ve seen a lot of improvement with that and I hope to be able to use it to execute more in the defensive zone and on the breakout.
“I spend the summer in Kennebunkport, Maine and also make some trips back to Montreal. I was working with Adam Oates, and he does it all. He’s a great coach and really breaks down your game bit by bit. He’s helped me a ton.”
NZ: How was the transition for you last season moving to Taft? What were some of the biggest adjustments you had to make?
Molson: “The biggest one for me, which shocked me a little bit, was all the slashing that happens in prep hockey. Down here there are a lot of lacrosse players who also play hockey, and we don’t have that up in Quebec. There were a lot of slashes in the fingers and on the arm that I’d expect a call, but I quickly realized a lot of that stuff will be let go, so that was an adjustment.
“As far as moving to Taft, I am an American citizen, so I spent a lot of time here. That wasn’t an adjustment as far as the guys and stuff. I think of myself as being pretty mature, so moving away from home was an easy transition and a good change for me. I’m really happy I came (to Taft).”
NZ: Finally, you committed to Colby recently. What about the program made it the place you wanted to continue your hockey career?
Molson: “During the process for me, I was looking at some Division I schools and they were talking to me, but it came down to academics for me. I had already repeated a year and I didn’t want to spend another year in juniors if I didn’t have to. I would if I had to, but I preferred not to. The NESCAC schools I was talking to were all open to me coming right away and the coaching staff at Colby was very open to that, so that’s where my focus went.
“I visited there over the summer, actually on move-in day, so I got a great feel for the campus and the school. It’s a beautiful campus. They are building a new rink for next season and it will be unreal. I get pictures of it from the coach regularly and I look forward to seeing the finished product.
“Then the academic component is one I take very seriously. Colby is the No. 8 liberal arts school in the country, I believe. It’s clear they are doing well because their acceptance rate keeps going down and their applications keep going up. It’s a hard school to get into. Meeting the players, they have a good balance between hockey and school. Coach (Blaise) MacDonald is doing some great things there and I am looking forward to playing for him.”