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Hub exclusive: Colorado College forward Josiah Slavin is on a familiar path and working hard to follow it to success

By Joe Paisley, SportsEngine, 12/17/19, 10:00PM MST


The former Colorado Thunderbird is making a relatively smooth transition from junior to college hockey with the Tigers, where he is drawing comparisons to big brother Jaccob.

Josiah Slavin committed to play at Colorado College while his older brother, Jaccob, was a Tiger. Josiah displays similar traits as his brother — a comparison that bodes well for him in his freshman season. Photo courtesy of Colorado College

Colorado College coach Mike Haviland knows he can rely on Colorado Thunderbirds alumnus Josiah Slavin.

The Erie, Colorado, native and Chicago Blackhawks draft pick has been a steady player for the National Collegiate Hockey Conference program since he first joined the Tigers this fall. 

“We didn’t think he was going to come in and put up 35 points his freshman year,” Haviland said. “He’s a guy who can get 15-25, somewhere in that range, in his first year. But he brings so much more to the table. He’s on our power play, he PKs. He is very smart within the structure in the game. He’s a guy you can trust.”

“I am not looking at the points,” the former Blackhawks assistant added. “I am looking at his overall game. The points will come. He has been getting better every game.”

“It’s been a great choice for me to further my career with college hockey,” he said. “I wanted to be in the NCHC. That played a huge factor in coming to CC. I had been gone (from Colorado) for three years and it’s nice to have my family have the chance to come see me play now that we’re close.”

His family has had several chances to see what he can do. He recorded his first college goal on Nov. 15 during a road sweep at St. Cloud State with his older brother in attendance. The Hurricanes were in Minnesota for a game at the Wild the next night.

The 6-foot-3, 183-pounder plays in all situations for the Tigers, working down low on the power play, in front on the penalty kill and in crunch time during even-strength play. It’s a challenge the former Hyland Hills (Westminster) club member (ages 2-8) welcomes.

“I believe I have a high hockey sense,” he said. “Me playing an extra year in juniors really helped me be ready. I had the experience level I needed to come in and contribute. I try not to get too caught in the statistics.”

“(Josiah Slavin is) a special talent and a kid, similar to Jaccob, who is a late bloomer ... He will continue to get better and better like Jaccob has. Certainly, we are real excited to have him.”

— Mike Haviland
Colorado College coach

Slavin, 20, is making a relatively smooth transition from junior to college hockey. The 193rd pick overall of the 2018 NHL Draft (Round 7) aged out of juniors and said that final year with the U.S. Hockey League’s Chicago Steel (28 points in 38 games) was a big help.

He continues to work on being better. His experience at the last two Blackhawks development camps showed him he needed to work harder.

“The biggest thing for me (to improve) is my skating,” said Slavin, who played for the Front Range club before joining the T-Birds. “It’s a matter of who works harder, who wants it more. It was definitely an eye-opener the first year. The second year (this past summer) I knew what to expect.”

Haviland appreciates that attitude. 

“He is gaining confidence and holding onto the puck a whole lot more,” he said. “He is now taking it to the net and getting more chances that way. He is an extremely intelligent hockey player who knows our systems. He is an extremely hard worker. He is a guy very much on their (Chicago’s) radar. A big guy who can score translates everywhere."

Joe Paisley is a freelance writer specializing in sports, notably hockey. Follow Joe on Twitter at @Paisleyhockey.

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