Bethany’s hockey son Blake gives the Rebel’s Colin Robin a F 16 pin.
By Bethany Drysdale
“Two things remain irretrievable: time and a first impression.” Meeting Colin Robin, a sophomore kinesiology major, is a first impression my husband will never forget. It was September 22 and the UNLV Rebels were playing one of their biggest rivals, the Arizona State Sun Devils in front of a packed City National Arena in Las Vegas. We arrived a few minutes before puck drop, so finding a seat among the crowd of fans was no easy task. As we started to sit down, Colin had followed us to seats to say hello and to meet my husband Marcus. What impressed Marcus most about Colin was, out of all of the fans, he sought out a chance to say hello and check on us before game time. Colin, was a healthy scratch for that night’s game, but that did not stop him from becoming a team ambassador. Since that day, Marcus has watched every UNLV game through You Tube or in person. A simple act of saying hello made a huge impression on all of us.
When I sat down to talk to Colin about his hockey and academic career, I began to understand more of what the sport means to him. Hockey is about family. Wearing jersey 16 is a family tradition. Over the last 50 years, at least one member in his family has worn that number. His two older brothers, Dustin and Darcy, got Colin interested in hockey at a very young age. Growing up in British Columbia, the elder Robin brothers were into junior hockey leagues when Colin was a toddler. He and the coach’s son were about the same age; giving them full access to the rink to watch the big guys play their game. Now that Colin is older, he works hard to encourage the younger kids, the way he was brought into the sport by his mentors.
The day he met us at the game, I noticed a lapel pin on his suit. It was a Royal Canadian Air Force bomber pin. Being in an Air Force family, this stood out for me so I asked him about the meaning. Colin’s grandfather fought in World War ll, in the Royal Canadian Air Force. He was stationed in South Africa and was awarded the Flying Cross for sinking a German submarine. As Veteran’s Day/Remembrance Day approaches the poem by fellow Canadian LTC John McCrae, ‘In Flanders Fields,’ uses the poppy flower to honor veterans and their service. Colin is very proud of his family’s military service and what their sacrifices allow us to appreciate today.
Hockey is a family; a family which celebrates together and grieves together. Earlier this year, in April, fifteen people died and 14 more injured when a team bus carrying a junior hockey team collided with a transport truck on their way to a playoff game. On his helmet Colin wears the Humboldt Broncos sticker to honor his fellow hockey brothers. Even if the players were not known to him personally to him, he has been in their skates before.
One of Colin’s best hockey memories is playing with the North Okanagan Knights going from a six win season to making the playoffs the following season. Living each day to its fullest and taking on life as a new adventure is his advice to young athletes. As we, in the Las Vegas community, saw last year October 1, hockey helped heal the many wounds of the entire city. Colin and the UNLV team used that energy from the fans to finish the 2017-18 ACHA season ranked 13th in the United States.
Colin is maintaining a 3.47 GPA and working to build his hockey skills. Not an easy task to balance, limiting him to one start during this early season. Although he would like to see a chance of someday playing for a professional hockey team, a career in sports medicine is his long term future plans. Living in the Las Vegas community has a small town feel for Colin and he could see himself staying here but his heart will always be with his family in Canada