He joined the Lincoln Stars with a plenty of hype early in the season, after leaving the United States National Team Development Program.
Colby Cohen was as good as advertised, too, and shattered several franchise records for defensemen, despite playing a shortened schedule in which he earned second-team all-United States Hockey League honors.
The Villanova, Pa., native graduated from high school last week, is set to attend this weekend’s NHL Draft, and will soon leave for his freshman season at Boston University. Cohen is projected by some scouting services to be selected near the end of the first round, or early in the second round.
Before a workout Friday with cousin Jeremy Bloom — yes, the former Colorado football player, Olympic skier and Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver — Cohen spent a few moments chatting with the Journal Star’s Brent C. Wagner.
What was the NHL combine like?
“Teams request to meet with you, and you get a schedule when you arrive that says: ‘Florida, 8-8:45, Philadelphia, 9:15.’ It’s mostly interviews and physical testing — they know whether you can skate, they’ve seen you enough. Bench press, sit-ups, long jump, bike endurance tests — stuff like that. It was intense — most kids puked, or passed out.”
I heard there were some weird questions.
“They asked whether you sleep on your back or your side. What does that have to do with anything?”
How many of the 30 NHL teams did you speak with?
“Twenty-seven. I think a lot of them just wanted to know why I left the national team. But they all told me I did a good job, so, we’ll see.”
How is the NHL Draft different from other drafts?
“A team drafts you, and then basically tells you what’s best for your development before they want you to play for them. A lot of guys will go to college, or another junior league first. I’ll go to Boston University for a few years, until hopefully I’m ready. I’ve had to explain the process to a lot of people.”
Do you think your cousin — football and skiing star Jeremy Bloom — tells people he’s Colby Cohen’s cousin?
“Actually, he’s been making a big deal out of it. There was something on the Eagles’ Web site, and on the front of The Philadelphia Inquirer sports section. I’ve got to meet some of the Eagles’ players.”
Say you make the NHL in a few years. Who is one of your Lincoln teammates that you wouldn’t be surprised to be playing against?
“Jason Gregoire for sure — he’s the total package, and he’ll probably get drafted. Carter Camper, too. He’s going to play for (Miami, Ohio), and they’ll be drooling to sign him.”
If you sign a big NHL contract some day, what’s the first thing you’ll buy?
“Probably a Range Rover. My dad had an older one that my brother got, but it got stolen. I miss that car. I’d want to pay back my parents for all they did to help me in hockey, too.”
Do you miss anything about Lincoln?
“I definitely miss Friday and Saturday night games in Lincoln — that was the best place to play.”
If you could be USHL commissioner for one day, what changes would you make?
“You have to do something with the divisions to make it fairer — probably split up Chicago and Ohio. Waterloo and Cedar Rapids played them seven or eight times, and that’s six easy wins. We didn’t have six easy games all year. Even if we killed Des Moines, it was a tough game.”
Was playing in the USHL good for you?
“It was great, and a lot of teams said it helped my stock to play in the USHL for (Coach Steve Johnson).”