A native of New Jersey, Colton Phinney joins Princeton after spending a year playing for the Islanders Hockey Club. Last season, the goalkeeper posted a 2.55 goals-against average, four shutouts, a 25-11-1 record and scored the game-winning goal in the finals. The Chatham N.J native graduated from Delbarton in 2012 after serving as an assistant captains his senior year, when he finished with a 24-1 record. During that season, Phinney was named the team MVP, a first-team all-state, first-team all-area and first-team MSG Varsity.
I had the chance to catch up with Phinney via email for a Q&A, and here’s what the incoming freshman had to say:
Why did you choose Princeton University?
Princeton is without a doubt one of the greatest institutions in the world, and when combining that with the tremendous hockey program, it was an absolute no brainer, and a dream come true.
What are you most looking forward to?
I am looking forward to getting back into school, after taking a year off. I’m extremely excited to be a part of such a prestigious hockey program.
When did you get into hockey? What’s your earliest memory?
I started playing hockey when I was three years old. My older brothers played, so they were a huge influence on me. They were both forwards, so they needed a goalie to shoot on, and inevitably it turned out to be my position.
What NHL team did you grow up rooting for and why?
When I was young I was a Devils fan because they were the hometown team. For the past ten years or so, I have been a Pittsburgh Penguins fan. I remember being in Canada and watching Marc-Andre Fleury play and loving him. A year or two after, he was drafted to the Penguins, so they became my new team.
What’s the biggest challenge you’ve faced in hockey?
I have definitely had my fair share of challenges. As a whole, the hardest was probably dealing with high school academics, as well as the grueling hockey schedule.
What’s the strangest thing you’ve ever seen when playing hockey?
The strangest thing I have ever seen was this past year in the finals. The game was tied 1-1 and the other team had a delayed penalty. They pulled the goalie for an extra attacker, leaving the net open. After a few shots on me, the puck hit the post, rolled all the way down the ice and into the open net. I was credited with the goal, which turned out to be the game winner. It was pretty surreal and definitely strange.
Who’s the most influential person in your hockey career?
I think both of my parents have been the most influential. Not only have they been extremely supportive and always there for me, they also have spent countless hours and holidays in the cold arena.
What’s the most exciting experience you’ve ever had?
I would have to say committing to Princeton, then getting into Princeton was the most exciting experience I’ve ever had.
What do you plan on majoring in/what are your academic interests?
I am not too sure of my major yet, but I am thinking of something along the lines of History. I enjoy reading and writing, so right now I am leaning towards that.
What do you hope your legacy at Princeton University will be?
I hope my legacy is one that is not just of an athlete, but an all around person. Obviously I hope to have the best hockey career I can have, but I also want to have great academic standing, as well as be a role model in the community, and help out as much as I can.