Taking Liberties with … Collin Delia
Position: Goaltender, Chicago Blackhawks(NHL)/Rockford IceHogs (American Hockey League)
Youth Hockey Teams: Anaheim Jr. Ducks, California Stars, California Titans, California Wave, Inland Valley Wild, Orange County Hockey Club
Last Amateur Team: Merrimack College (Hockey East, NCAA D-I)
California Rubber: You have some interesting hobbies, leatherworking for one?
Collin Delia: I’ve always had an affinity for leather goods, wallets, bags. I liked the tactile nature of it all. One day I thought, “I could do that.” I have the eye for that and I’m very detail-oriented so I bought some scrap leather and a starter tool kit and started messing around. Then I researched companies that make handmade leather goods. All of my stuff is hand-stitched. It’s pretty intensive. If you want something to last, you have to do it by hand. Machines can only do so much.
As I started learning more about it, I discovered there is a world-famous tannery in Chicago. I’ve gone there multiple teams and toured the facility and bought leather there. It’s taken off.
Through word of mouth, I’ve made bags, wallets and belts. It’s just a matter of having the time to make them.
CR: And it hasn’t stopped with smaller goods?
CD: I needed a couch, so I made a couch. I have a background in woodworking. My dad and I built a lot of the furniture in our house. It’s not as hard as you think. You just need to have the necessary tools and a lot of patience. I also made a TV stand and a coffee stand. It’s a reprieve from the rink. It’s something that doesn’t talk back to you. It’s all based on your effort and your patience. I love working with my hands. It’s therapeutic.
CR: Do you have a favorite youth hockey memory?
CD: I played for the Inland Valley Wild at 16U AA. We went to Ohio to play in a tournament. I didn’t start the year on the team, but I finished the year with it. The memories I have with those guys, playing soccer or hackysack in the lobby, were great. We ended up winning the tournament, beating the London Jr. Knights (from Ontario) and they were really good. We all played the best hockey we’d ever played.
Another would be with the California Titans. The relationships I had with those guys was pretty special. I was 15 playing with 17- and 18-year-olds. I looked up to them. That was probably the tightest group I’d ever played with. It’s all about the quality of your teammates.
CR: Do you find that to be the case in pro hockey?
CD: I’m finding that to be true in the American League. Nobody wants to be here forever, but we’re trying to enjoy each other’s company for as long as we’re here. We come to the rink ready to work and make each other better. There are a lot of parallels between the lessons I learned when I was younger in California and now.
CR: You’ve also mentioned you like to cook. Is there a favorite meal?
CD: I like to make pasta by hand. It’s a big ordeal so I try to have a couple teammates over to enjoy that with. Cooking steak is another. It takes a lot of attention to detail to do it well. It’s always a treat.
CR: Where do you like to go to eat in California?
CD: The Mexican food in California is really good. And In-N-Out, but that’s more of a nostalgic thing. I grew up with that and it still tastes the same as it did 12, 15, 20 years ago. There’s a really good Mexican place in downtown Pasadena called El Cholo. And my dad has a pizza oven in the backyard, so we’ll have some friends over and make pizza from scratch.
CR: Are you particular about any of your hockey gear?
CD: I’ve had certain refinements in how I have my gear strapped or positioned. It’s all about feel. I don’t care what brand I use; I just want it to be comfortable. I use Brian’s a lot because they’ll do anything I ask for with my pads. For sticks, I have a notch cut out because I have bigger hands. That helps me control the puck a little better.
CR: Did you have a favorite team or player growing up?
CD: Marty Brodeur (New Jersey Devils) was my favorite goalie growing up. When the Devils played the Ducks in the 2003 Final, I became more of a Ducks fan, a “Jiggy” (J-S Giguere) fan. I loved Jonas Hiller. He had an odd style, but it worked. Johnny Quick with the Kings is so athletic. There are certain things I’ve tried to mimic from their games.
CR: If you weren’t playing hockey, what would you be doing?
CD: I think about that a lot, actually. I would have been in architectural design because I love structures and building houses. One day, I’d like to make custom homes or furniture.
– Compiled by Chris Bayee
(Jan. 14, 2019)