Amid the serious business of scratching through a tough slate, the Colorado College Tigers need a bit of levity. Though Brian Williams hasn’t always been in the lineup, he’s happy to improve the mood.
“I like dancing, I like singing, I like having a good time,” Williams said. “I’ve always been the funny guy on the team.
“There’s a time to turn the switch on and off, though. I can’t be the clown all the time. I stay loose most of the time until I’m on the ice.”
The class comedian had his moment Friday in a home game against Miami. Late in the second period, linemate Jack Gates got the puck to Williams, whose initial shot was saved. The puck bounced back to him, and this time he buried it.
“That was an unreal feeling. Once it happened I couldn’t stop smiling for a little bit,” Williams said. “Something I won’t forget forever.”
The RedHawks cut the lead to 5-3 in the third period, and with their goaltender pulled, Williams snuffed the comeback attempt with an empty netter.
Tigers co-captain Mason Bergh, who was also a goal away from a hat trick that night, was happy to see the freshman who had paid his dues be rewarded.
“It was a lot of fun,” Bergh said. “There was definitely a lot of energy on the bench when he scored.”
Born and raised in San Diego, Williams had to choose – as many athletes do – which sport to focus on as a teenager. His other passion was skateboarding.
Williams once skated on a line with another southwestern U.S. hockey standout, reigning Calder Trophy winner Auston Matthews of the Toronto Maple Leafs, at a Brick Invitational tournament in Edmonton. He says he outplayed him.
“I was 10, he was 9. A year back then was a huge difference, but he was still unbelievable,” Williams said. “You knew he was going to be something special.”
He moved a few hours north to Los Angeles to further his career with the LA U16 Selects, then played his junior hockey with the Wenatchee Wild (BCHL) in Washington state and Omaha Lancers (USHL) in Nebraska.
He was originally committed to University of Massachusetts Amherst and wound up with CC late, in April 2017.
Williams moved in and out of the lineup without registering a point for the first two months of the season, often appearing as a “warmup player” on the official roster. But recent injuries gave him consistent chances to contribute.
“Guys really like him,” Colorado College coach Mike Haviland said. “He’s a hard worker. He’s got one of the best shots on the team and obviously he hasn’t gotten many games, so it’s nice to see a hard-working goal like that.”
The Tigers will take their last weekend off before traveling to No. 11 North Dakota on Feb. 9-10. Then it’s hopefully back to cracking jokes and burying pucks for the National Collegiate Hockey Conference squad.
“That’s the plan,” he chuckled.