For sophomore, it’s grades before blades

Curt Berry, Staff Writer

Sophomore Ross Colton gets nods from peers in class who watched him play over the weekend.

And when the Catamounts have been playing well, he and his teammates get a few extra looks.

School is stressful. For Colton, getting out on the rink with his friends helps ease that stress.

Game day for Colton brings a specific routine: He wakes up at 9 a.m., runs over to the dining hall, and then heads to the rink and stretches out. The first skate is at noon.

“We just want to warm up, and get out there and get some touches on the ice,” Colton said.

After the skate, the team heads for a pre-game meal. They go to their rooms and catch some sleep, before heading to the rink at 5 p.m.

Ross values his education as much as he does his hockey career.

“I take the work I do in the classroom just as seriously as what I do on the ice,” Colton said.

Colton went to Princeton Day School, which he said helped shape his determination in the classroom.

“It was school first, and then hockey,” he said.

Colton is in his second year with the Catamounts. His progression as a college hockey player has been notable.

In his first-year year, Colton netted 12 goals and added 15 assists. This year, he has already surpassed his goal tally with 14, as well as six assists.

“It’s a confidence thing. I came in last year being a freshman,” Colton said. “You don’t want to say too much, and overstep your boundaries.”

“As a sophomore, you’re feeling better about yourself, so I try to be vocal and stay positive.”

He also praises his head coach Kevin Sneddon.

He talked to me over the summer and he said, ‘I want you to be a leader on and off the ice.’” Colton said. “I also feel like I can talk to him about anything.”

Colton said the leadership on the team helped his confidence.

“[Senior forward] Robby [Darrar] has been my friend my entire life. I remember him coming up to me my first game and telling me to play with confidence and have fun.”

Colton added that the whole team bonds well.

“School is a grind, so it just feels so nice to get to the rink, and you’re hanging out with your 30 brothers,” he said. “When you come to the rink, it feels like you have plenty of guys getting your back.”

Colton said he keeps battling through games the next day by staying positive.

“I really try not to dwell on the losses as much, it’s more just watching the film, trying to get better, and just focusing on the next game,” he said.

Vermont has a chance to finish strong the rest of the season and to host the University of New Hampshire for a series in the first round of the Hockey East Tournament.