An Email Interview With Hockey Analyst Colby Cohen

Photo by Jana Chytilova/Freestyle Photography/Getty Images

If you have not noticed, I enjoy conducting email interviews with various people in the hockey world.

I am proud to present an email interview that I recently conducted with hockey analyst Colby Cohen. Cohen, who currently works for both ESPN and Daily Faceoff, was kind enough to take time out of his busy schedule to tell us about how he got into hockey, what it was like having so much success as a college hockey player, his experience being drafted into the NHL, as well as what it is like working in hockey media.

I hope you folks enjoy this!

PH: Growing up, how did you get into hockey?
CC: I instantly fell in love with the sport (at least that is what they tell me) thanks to my dad. He loved watching the Philadelphia Flyers, so we would watch Flyers games together, and then I would go to his men’s league games.

PH: Who was your favorite team (s)/player (s) growing up? How about now?
CC: Growing up, I loved the Flyers and the Colorado Avalanche. John Leclair and Joe Sakic were my two favorite players, and I had their jerseys and posters on my wall.

I got to meet both of those guys, and I also got to know Sakic from being with the Avalanche. He could not have been a nicer guy, and it is still surreal when I see him and get to catch up with him.

I recently met Leclair at a BU game and went over to introduce myself. He said, “Hi, Colby. How are you?” Naturally, I had to call my older brother to tell him because, again, those are your childhood idols. My older brother was an Eric Lindros guy.

PH: At what point in your life did you realize that you wanted to be a hockey player and try to make a living doing so?
CC: I told everyone when I was five that I was going to play for the Flyers. Most people laughed about that, but my dad was willing to give me all the opportunities as long as I loved it.

Well, I never got to play for the Flyers, but I was fortunate to get to the NHL level. That is every hockey player’s dream.

PH: What was it like to score the overtime goal that helped Boston University win the National Championship in 2009 over the Miami Redhawks? Do people still come up to you or ask you about it today? Tell us about your feelings, emotions, and thoughts about that whole experience.
CC: Winning the title at BU is one of the greatest moments of my life and it was also definitely the greatest moment of my sports career. Some of the best years of my life were at BU, playing alongside some of my best friends, who I am fortunate to keep in close touch with, as well as my coaches from those years.

Now, I love watching BU play. My former teammates and friends are running the program, so I feel very connected to it all and I hope to see them back in the Frozen Four this season.

As far as feelings and emotions go, I wish I remembered more from that moment. After that goal went in, it was all a blur.

The photos tell a story and help fill in some of the gaps, but I never take for granted how I was the lucky one who scored such a big goal in a program with such a rich history. It keeps me connected to Coach Jack Parker, and anytime I am at Agganis Arena, people always come up to me to reminisce, which always brings a smile to my face.   

PH: You had a lot of success at BU. You scored an overtime winner to win a National Championship; you were an All-American, a Hockey East All-Star, and the most outstanding player of the Frozen Four Tournament. How did you go about accomplishing all of these things? 
CC: The older I get, the more I realize that even though individual trophies have your name on them, they are team awards. I joke that I spent my whole life riding Kevin Shattenkirk’s coattails, but a lot of my success at BU was because I played with an extremely gifted defensive partner who always put me in good spots to be successful on the ice.

If you look at all the goals I had at BU, I bet 90 percent of them were assisted by Shattenkirk, Colin Wilson, and Nick Bonino, so they deserve a lot of the credit. Those guys were all elite passers.

PH: What was it like to be drafted by the Colorado Avalanche?
CC: The 2007 NHL Entry Draft was a cool experience for me and my family. I remember feeling relieved when I finally heard my name called.

Of course, I got drafted by the same team as Shattenkirk, who was my roommate and teammate at BU at the time. That was cool because we got to share yet another big moment and milestone together.

PH: While you did not get to play with the Boston Bruins, you did manage to be in the team’s 2011 Stanley Cup photo, and you also received a Stanley Cup ring. What was that like?
CC: Being a part of the 2011 Stanley Cup champion Bruins was another experience that I will always remember. Seeing what it takes to win a Stanley Cup while being a black ace and traveling and practicing with the team during the playoffs was an eye-opening experience.

It was an incredible group that was full of legendary veterans. One of the coolest parts of that was getting to know Mark Recchi, a guy I watched play for the Flyers as a kid. He could not have been a nicer guy.

Lifting the Cup after game 7 was a very cool experience for me, even though I did not get into any games. The competitor inside of you wants to be out on the ice helping your teammates.

There are lessons I learned from that playoff run that I use today when I am talking to young hockey players or working broadcasts at various levels of the game.

PH: After your professional hockey playing career, you became a hockey analyst. What made you decide to get into hockey media?
CC: I got into the media side of the game by chance. I was living in Boston and rehabbing an injury after my contract with the Bruins had expired.

NESN gave me a chance to broadcast some college hockey. I was terrible at it, and I did not like it at first, but I am glad that people pushed me to stay with it because it is a great way to stay involved in the game.

PH: Before Christmas, you and Jonny Lazarus announced a new hockey show, “Morning Cuppa Hockey,” that you will be doing for DailyFaceoff.com. How did this opportunity come about for you?
CC: Frank Seravalli, who is a childhood friend and is the president of hockey content for Daily Faceoff, asked me after I was let go by the Chicago Blackhawks if I was interested in coming to work for his network. Then Jonny and I developed the show.

We just finished our second week doing the show, and it has been a lot of fun.

PH: What are you and Jonny trying to bring to your viewers/listeners?
CC: We just want to keep people updated on daily events, give our opinions, and argue a lot, as Jonny and I do not see eye to eye on most topics because we are from different generations. So far, I think people are enjoying the different perspectives we are bringing to the show. 

We Got The Jack Inside The Rink

In episode 8 of the Inside The Rink podcast, Matty and Smitty are joined by new co-host Conrad Jack. After the long hiatus, we get back to hockey with a PACKED episode!Matt Rempe & the Devils vs. Rangers Line BrawlCould the Vancouver Canucks squander a playoff opportunity? Have the Winnipeg Jets finally figured out their lines?Flyers Head Coach John Tortorella is a sound byte MACHINEOvechkin is on his way to 895, Who is next?McDavid joins elite company with 100 Assists in a seasonRyan Hartman was suspended 3 Games, was it worth 3 games??Can Auston Matthews hit 70 Goals this season?The Eastern Conference Wild Card race is heating up, who lands the two playoff berths?For all of your hockey news and more from the show, visit us at insidetherink.com and watch us on YouTube! How to support us and our sponsors:TicketmasterColumbia Sports ApparelESPN+ SubscriptionFanaticsDraft Kings – CODE ITR
  1. We Got The Jack
  2. Episode 7. Player Safety First!
  3. Episode 6. Early Trade Season
  4. Episode 5. Longing For The Chiarelli Years
  5. Episode 4. Ottawa’s On Fire

Patrick Hoffman

Patrick covers the NHL for Inside The Rink. He has previously covered the league for The Ultimate Hockey Fan Cave, WTP Sports, Sportsnet.ca, Kukla’s Korner, Spector’s Hockey, NHL Network Radio blog, TheHockeyNews.com, The Fourth Period, Stan Fischler’s “The Fischler Report”, as well as a slew of others.

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