Colin Grannary Battles Through Surgery and Pain to Become Top Line Player
The Stingers Men’s Hockey Player is Healthy and Making an Impact
When you mention that night to Colin Grannary, he lights up immediately.
He’s referring to his first time back in action since a knee surgery sidelined him for six months. The second-year player on the Stingers’ men’s hockey team had to have a torn ACL repaired before a gruelling rehab process that kept him out for the start of the 2019-2020 season.
But he’s gone from injured scratch to top-line player for the team and couldn’t be happier about it. In his two seasons with the Stingers, he’s been able to play in just 12 of 38 games so far. He’s ready to get back into action and make his mark with the team.
A native of Delta, British Columbia, Grannary was scouted by the Stingers as an offensive force who put up 114 points in 110 games in the British Columbia Hockey League before spending two seasons with the NCAA division one University of Nebraska-Omaha.
As a part of the team’s goal of expanding their recruiting out West, the hope was for the player teammates affectionately refer to as “grandma” to come in and contribute right away.
It looked like things were set to go that way when he scored a hat trick in one of his first tastes of preseason action with the Stingers. It went downhill fast though, as he would tear his ACL before the season even started. That was the beginning of the injury that he would get surgery for nearly a year later.
“It’s tough. You get used to it […] but it’s never fun to have to sit and watch the team play when you know you could be there helping out,” said Grannary.
The injury would keep him out for months, taking away almost the entirety of his rookie season. He would eventually play with a knee brace, but needed more game prep time so that he could play through the pain and a host of other issues that come with an injury like his.
He and the team decided offseason surgery was the next step after their elimination from the playoffs. Grannary knew he would be missing even more time now.
But just as he had done during his first stretch of not being able to play the game he loved enough to bounce between Western Canada, to Nebraska, and Quebec, Grannary told himself to stay positive. He knew his chance would come.
“He’s a guy who’s always by the book. Never missed an appointment […] He did whatever he had to do to be ready for the season,” said Stingers head coach Marc-André Élement.
Grannary went to work, leaning on the positive thinking and rehab process and work he’d learned during his first round of healing. His eyes weren’t set on just coming back, but coming back better.
“[Even if it’s] a disappointing feeling, you’ve got to work through those things and come back stronger,” said Grannary.
Despite being better prepared mentally and physically this time around, the six months of rehab followed by the heavy workload of getting his body back into full game shape, were still difficult.
But six games into the new season, Grannary found himself on the ice. He had no more pain and was ready to get back to hockey. Some players get eased back in. Grannary didn’t have that luxury.
The team lost two of its first line forwards to injury right as Grannary returned. As a result, he found himself in a trial by fire. He was put onto the first line and paired with the team’s most productive forward this season, rookie Tyler Hylland.
This meant facing opposing teams’ best players and playing heavy minutes right off the bat. It also meant Grannary knew that the coaching staff really trusted him with the responsibility that comes with the role, a major confidence boost for him.
His play hasn’t disappointed since then. He and Hylland found chemistry right away and are both quick to talk about how much they enjoy each other’s playing style.
“I love playing with grandma […] he’s a slippery player,” said Hylland. “He gets lost behind the [defence], he finds ways to make plays slip off checks. He finds me when I’m open, I find him. We have great communication on and off the ice.”
As much as he is contributing on the ice with his play, just his presence has given the team a boost according to Hylland.
“We were so happy to have him back. We saw him every day, bagging himself before practice, skating hard with the trainers, working hard to come back,” said the rookie.
Grannary’s effort and return to the game is something that his teammates have a real respect for. He’s earned his spot with his work both on and off the ice.