NORWALK, CT -- When Colin Bella scored the opening goal in a game against the Railers Jr. Hockey Club at the Newington Showcase, he became the all-time leading scorer for the Connecticut RoughRiders with 56 career goals.
Adding to the already impressive feat, the player Colin surpassed was none other than his older brother AJ, who scored 55 goals in two seasons with the RoughRiders. Currently in his third season with Connecticut, Colin is 10th all-time with 128 points in the EHL and sixth all-time with 59 goals.
In this edition of Q and Anthony, Colin talks about breaking the team record, growing up with AJ and eventually playing together on the RoughRiders, as well as the prospect of breaking the EHL goals record.
Colin Bella: At the time I was not aware of it, actually. I didn't know about the RoughRider one.
CB: He was just talking about how I still haven't hit 40 goals. That's all he's talking about, is me catching his single-season record of 40 goals, that's the one that we're betting on, so I've got to catch that.
CB: Yeah, we don't have too much money between us, but we're just betting a cup of coffee from Donut Delight down the road, who can get more goals in their age-out season. AJ put up 40 in the 2019-2020 season and I have 17 so far, so I need to get to 41 in order to beat his single season record.
CB: We used to play knee hockey a lot in the playroom, and one time he just hit me in the face with a stick and I had to get stitches, I was gushing blood right around my eye. In the summers we play on a team together and it's always a competition to see who would get more points. He doesn't like to pass the puck a lot, he just likes to shoot, so I don't get touch the puck too much when I'm playing with him. Because of that I just try to stay on a different line.
CB: I guess when we were younger, our mom would always make us go out on the driveway and shoot pucks, so she was the one who really got us into it. And like I said with AJ, he's not a big passer, he just shoots. So eventually something's going to go in.
CB: There was a window in the back that got shattered, but it wasn't because we shot it. When we would play knee hockey inside, we played full contact and we hit our little brother into the window and it shattered.
CB: Yeah, our little brother Jake. He doesn't play hockey, he plays lacrosse. But we made him play hockey with us when we were younger.
CB: It was a really good experience, especially because there was no Covid or anything, it was a just a regular season. That year was also a competition, at the beginning of the year I had a few more points than him. But once he started playing with Will Christensen and Tao Ishizuka, and then they started putting up a lot of points, that's when he passed me. I think we had a bet then too, it was like $20 to see who would have more points. I was pretty confident I was going to lose, but just out of pride I had to take the bet.
CB: He was just talking about the speed being a little faster and a lot more physical, so you've got to be ready for that. I've gone to a bunch of his games and every time you have the puck someone is getting hit, so you have to prepare for that.
CB: It was nice to be able to score in that game, especially since Tao Ishizuka was on Curry. It's nice to play against someone like that who was on the RoughRiders, and it does give you a little more confidence before going to college, knowing that you can play there. Hopefully in the next month or so I will be able to land a commitment too.
CB: I hope so, I'm not going to try and focus on that too much, just focus more on winning with our team. If we do pick up some wins, hopefully I'll have some goals in there too, so we'll see what happens.
CB: The RoughRiders play out of SoNo Ice House which is 10 minutes from me, so I've always been in that rink growing up, so it's a great spot. Playing for Eric and Brownie, they don't focus as much on bringing in a ton of players, trying to trade everybody. It's all about development and getting players to the next level. We focus a lot on skating, they've been really good to me and they're just great coaches all around.
Anthony Di Paolo covers the EHL for HNIB and can be followed on Twitter @DiPaolo_016
Anthony Di Paolo has spent the last four seasons with the New Jersey 87's organization. Anthony's familiarity with the junior hockey landscape at the Tier II and Tier III levels will help him dive right into covering the EHL.
Anthony will cover our league showcases and events, as well as write weekly features and player spotlights throughout the 2021-22 season.