Good news for Bomber fans: Chrystopher Collin isn’t going anywhere – yet.
Despite being picked by the Central Illinois Flying Aces in this summer’s United States Hockey League (USHL) draft, Collin plans to return to the Bombers for the upcoming season.
“He’s happy to be coming back. He’s excited about the team that he’s going to get to play for this year,” said Mike Reagan, Bombers head coach and GM.
The 19-year-old Bois de Filion, Que., native was picked in the 14th round of the draft by the Flying Aces in May. With the Bombers last season, Collin finished with 50 points in 49 games and played in multiple high-level showcases and tournaments, including the World Junior A Challenge, the CJHL Top Prospects Game and the SJHL-MJHL Showcase. In May, Collin also received an NCAA Division I scholarship from the Bowling Green Falcons, a program that has produced multiple active NHLers.
“He actually was just on a visit down to Bowling Green [last week] to see the school he committed to. He’ll be back up here at the end of August,” said Reagan.
“I think the thing with Chrys is he wanted to be loyal to the team that helped him get his Div. I scholarship.”
Collin is currently pegged to join the Falcons for the 2020-21 season.
Collin’s selection allowed him a chance jump ship from the Bombers to the highest-ranked league in the US. Multiple top SJHL talents, including current NHLer Jaden Schwartz, have left the league in recent memory to join USHL teams, which are often closely monitored by NCAA recruiters.
Reagan said Collin’s will to stick with the Bombers is not rare, adding that former Bombers often come back – including former forward Tommy Castonguay, who recently wrapped up a trip back to his junior stomping grounds.
“To see a guy come back and visit from Quebec, that speaks volumes to how important this community has been to a lot of these players in their careers,” he said.
News isn’t quite as rosy for forward Rob Johnson. While he is eligible to return to the team this season, Reagan said Johnson would be leaving the team. No trades have been reached to send Johnson’s rights away from Flin Flon, but Reagan anticipates interest in the forward to heat up in the coming weeks.
Johnson joined the Bombers midway through last season and ended with 27 points in 37 games. A dual US-Canada citizen, Johnson had a scholarship offer to join the NCAA’s Air Force Academy Falcons this season, but may wait until 2019-20 to join the club.