After taking some time to digest and research all of the goalies I scouted during the 2012 NAHL Showcase, I finished with less than five goalies on my radar. That’s not to say the others weren’t solid talents, but in terms of those I felt had legitimate NCAA (D-I) upside, only a few guys really stood out.
One of those goalies was Amarillo’s Collin Delia.
A native of Rancho Cucamonga, Delia started out like many Southern California kids in the late-1990’s; on wheels. He started rollerblading at age four, but had fully transitioned to the ice by the time he was 12.
Over the past few seasons, Collin has stayed in California, playing AAA hockey for the OC Hockey Club. A member of the North American Prospects Hockey League (NAPHL), his team won the State playoffs title and went all the way to Regionals last season, which put him on the map for a handful of USHL and NAHL teams.
After attending Des Moines’ (USHL) training camp, Collin knew he had the skills to play at that level, but a crowded crease forced him to play in the NAHL. He’s in a good situation with Amarillo, however; he has the chance to carry a heavy workload and lead the Bulls on a deep playoff run.
What I liked most about Delia’s performance during the NAHL Showcase was his solid skating skills, and his ability to play bigger than his size dictated. Along with a wide stance and effective glove positioning, he displayed a very polished progressive butterfly style. He was smooth, comfortable, and in control throughout the showcase.
Already listed at 6-foot-2 and 185 pounds, his overall positioning and net coverage was one of his most impressive traits. This brought a stable presence and steady, calming influence to the crease. and he also maintained a very confident disposition regardless of the situation.
Technically speaking, Delia seals the ice very well and embraces a decent level of athleticism. He was able to recover quickly when the puck moved from low to high, or when shots were blocked and re-directed in the slot. Another element that really stood out to me was his upper body positioning. He didn’t get caught falling forward, and he maintained good balance throughout. He was almost always set, square, and ready for shots to hit him.
Because of this, Delia displayed solid intelligence in terms of when to block and when to react. He used his size very well; he didn’t staple himself to the goal line, and he challenged shooters when needed.
Overall, Delia achieved an economy of movement that allowed him to appear very “quiet” in the crease, both with his lower and upper body. He was not only strong down low due to solid edge control, but with a decent dose of athleticism and determination, he displayed the work ethic needed to make some timely saves. He had a few big penalty-killing situations that preserved a one-goal lead for more than 20 minutes.
Delia will have to continue working hard in order to gain the workload needed to be seen by more scouts, but with another year of development, and with some quality personalized instruction next summer, there’s no doubt in my mind that he has the potential to earn an NCAA D-I scholarship.
JG: On your ForSe Hockey page, you mention working with some great goalie coaches. Who are they, and how have they helped your game over the past few years?
CD: “Over the past few years I’ve had the privilege of working with some really influential goalie coaches. This past season I was able to work with Reto Schurch. Reto played in the Swiss Pro league for multiple years and is now the goalie coach for the Rapperswil-Jona Lakers. Over the past years he’s worked with François Allaire, as well as Swiss goalies Jonas Hiller, Martin Gerber and David Aebischer. When I first started working with Reto, I was an overly-aggressive, overly-anxious goaltender. Reto was able to help me channel that energy into a style that better fit my size and ability. We first addressed the mentality issue at hand and the importance of the ‘less is more’ approach. In our training, we focused on the principles of a blocking style and the technique needed to accompany it. We would constantly work on the miniscule details because those were in fact the most important. Overall, Reto brought a calmness to my game that would effect my whole mentality and in turn make me a more efficient goaltender.”
“This past summer, I was also very fortunate in that I got the chance to work with Mike Valley and Pasco Valana at Elite Goalies. Valley’s NHL background intermixed with Pasco’s National level experience came together to create a fountain of knowledge and understanding that I was able to draw from and incorporate into my game. When attending their camp, we enforced creating good skating habits, the importance of sealing the ice, but most importantly, classroom aspects of the game. The biggest weapon that they’ve helped me add to my arsenal is mental strength and preparation. Really sharpening and perfecting that aspect of my game has helped me become a next level goaltender. Granted there will always be things to improve upon, but I was extremely grateful to have had their experience and prowess instilled in my game.”
JG: On that note, what is your own personal definition of mental toughness?
CD: “Mental toughness is best defined as one’s ability to withstand or rise above the pressures associated with the game and position. This is a game where emotions run wild and tempers flare, so I feel like great goalies rise to the occasion and are able to keep their emotions contained while focusing on the task at hand. It’s really how you handle these pressures which dictates the level of consistency and eventual success you will achieve.”
JG: What do you feel are your biggest mental and physical strengths as a goalie?
CD: “Possibly the biggest tool a goaltender can have is their ability to remain calm and keep a level head while in goal. Teams live and die by the confidence they have in their goaltender. I feel like when my team looks back to me, whether we’re winning or losing, they can count on my consistent play. One physical strength I pride myself on is my skating. Whatever drills we do in practice I always try to focus on my edges and make sure I set myself up well to make the save. This is one of my biggest strengths because about 90-percent of a save is preparation, and if you are in control that 90 percent, you have a good chance at stopping a lot of pucks.”
JG: What aspects of your game do you want to work on or improve the most this season?
CD: “Overall, I’d say the biggest facet that I would like to address is staying consistent and continually developing my mental edge. Both aspects are such a large part of my game, and to not continually develop and strengthen them would be irrational. I’d also like to improve my tracking ability as well as my puck handling; both are crucial in controlling the game and can also help your team immensely.”
JG: What are your short-term (this season) and long-term (over next 2-3 years) goals as a prospect?
CD: “This season I strive to play consistently and give my team a chance to win every night. In doing so, I believe that we will take home the Robertson Cup and I will have helped lead our team to a championship, that which has eluded our organization for the past two years. I also aim at committing to a Division-I school so that I may continue to compete at a high level and also receive a good education in the process. My long-term goals include being a high-end NCAA goaltender who is continually backstopping his team and providing consist play night in and night out. Through hard work and an undying will to win, I’ll work toward becoming a pro-level goaltender.”
JG: What is the most valuable lesson you have learned as a goaltender?
CD: “Perhaps the most valuable lesson I’ve learned as a goaltender is that a majority of our game revolves around mentality. You can be the most technical or athletic goaltender around, but if you don’t have the proper mentality you have no depth or future in the sport. I learned this lesson while while battling for playing time in youth hockey. You just have to preform consistently, and you achieve this by forming routines, good habits and reinforcing positive thinking.”
JG: In order to improve your game, what type of drills are you currently working on in practice?
CD: “I work on a lot of skating and edge work, both in and out of the net. I feel like skating is something a goalie can always improve upon and constantly reinforce good habits. Equally important is working on tracking the puck, into your glove, blocker, body, etc. More recently I’ve been working on no-blade pushes, from post to post and out. A skill that Jonathan Quick seems to use quite often when there is no time for an edge push. I always try to work on the grassroots details of my game while also incorporating new developing parts of my game.”
JG: Which goalies do you try to model your game after, and why?
CD: “I’d say I try to take bits and pieces from every goalie I encounter mainly because it’s important to be a student of the game. However, the goalies who have the biggest impact on my game are Jonas Hiller and Jonathan Quick. I try to emulate and incorporate Hiller’s blocking style along with his sound positioning. Hiller’s positioning is so flawless that it compliments his blocking style and in turn he is able to keep pucks directly in front of him and in doing so, he’s able to control the game. In terms of Jonathan Quick’s type of play, I attempt to echo his raw athleticism, pliability, and reflexes. I feel that Quick is so successful because his athleticism has modified his skating so much so that his edge work and post work down low are impeccable. By being in control of the bottom portion of the ice, Quick forces shooters to find other ways to beat him. Overall, I feel that in attempting to model both Hiller and Quick, I’m able to be both aggressive and positional at the same time while always being in control of my game.”
JG: What is one motivational quote you constantly reflect upon, or use when it comes to being a goalie?
CD: “Complacency is the Devil.”
“This is something that is more of a personal credo more so than a quotation to me. I apply this principle to pretty much everything in life because once you are comfortable in your position their is always someone there waiting to knock you off. This leans towards why I’m possibly my biggest critique, I’m never satisfied, even with a shutout. There will always be something that I can do better. I strive for perfection and I wont stop until I win a championship at every level possible.”
The Goalie Guild would like to thank Collin for his time, and we wish him the best of luck as he continues to work towards his goal of earning an NCAA D-I scholarship!