Former Carleton Place Canadians goalie nets gold at World Juniors

ColtonPoint.jpg

Colton Point. Photo: Hockey Canada.

By Michael Sun

Former Carleton Place Canadians goaltender Colton Point won gold with Team Canada at the 2018 World Junior Ice Hockey Championships.

“It’s always been a dream of mine to represent Canada,” Point said. “To be able to fulfill that was really rewarding and amazing experience and I’m grateful I got the chance to be a part of it.”

The Colgate University sophomore noted he felt he “stole” a spot on the team.

“Going in there, I knew that if I wanted to play, I really had to show up,” he said. “A lot of people were talking about how the two spots were set already so I just wanted to go in there, show them what I was capable of and keep playing my game.”

He made 20 saves in a 6-0 shutout over Slovakia, in his lone tournament action. “It’s exciting – first World Juniors game ever – but I knew I still had to come with same approach,” Point said. “I just tried to stay relaxed.”

Point has dual citizenship eligibility but was two months short of being eligible to play for the United States.

“At first it was whoever offered [the opportunity] and all that but then I thought about it and was like, ‘I was born and raised in Canada’…I would much rather play for Canada with the pedigree.”

Point also described the adjustment and confidence being at the tournament gave him.

“Playing at the World Juniors introduced me to a higher speed and allowed me to know this is what I’m able to do and bring it back with more confidence.”

He also noted how his single season at Carleton Place in 2015-16 helped him develop mentally.

“I always had the size and the speed,” he added. “Being able to control my emotions and manage emotions throughout a game…all that stuff is what developed from Junior A to now.”

Point came in as the backup at Carleton Place and won the starting job as well as the playoff MVP as the team took the Central Canada Hockey League title.

“That was a very character year for me,” he said. “I built a lot of my skills from that year and had a lot of people helping me. I just learned how to overcome adversity.”

Part of that experience in dealing with adversity helped when Point missed eight weeks with infectious mononucleosis last season.

“It was not fun at all. Being away from the team and the rink takes a toll on you. Once I did finally get back, getting back in shape was another thing. It was a pretty long process but in the end it gave me some character and grit and some willingness to push even harder.”

He also acknowledged how Carleton Place helped his late maturity process. “My mental game was pretty weak. I’d get rattled by things. It took getting older to realize there’s certain things you can’t control.”

Point’s success at Carleton Place payed off when the Dallas Stars drafted him 128th overall in 2016. He said it was “a pleasant surprise” as he didn’t talk to a single Stars scout or official before being picked.

Point said he tries to work on a variety of things throughout the season.

“Goaltending is a constantly evolving position and there’s always something new you can learn out there and there’s always something old you can better at.”
Point said he plans to graduate from Colgate and then fight for an NHL spot.

“Long term, it’s hopefully make to the NHL,” he said. “That’s what I want to do with my life and my career and that’s what I keep working towards.”

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