Nick Halloran is flying again.
He had a disappointing junior year cut short by surgery on the labrum in his hip. The good news — perhaps the only good news — is that he knew just what to expect. He’d had this surgery the previous year on the other hip.
“I’ve got bionic hips, so I’m feeling good,” the forward joked.
“I definitely feel like a new person. My hip was really bothering me, and it was a tough decision to get it fixed. But ultimately, I believe it was the right one. I’m flying now.”
He became a breakout star his sophomore year while making a 36-point leap from his rookie season. He was a second-team All-American and finished third overall in points (19 goals, 26 assists) in the National Collegiate Hockey Conference.
Colorado College coach Mike Haviland estimated Halloran had 10 to 15 pro teams talking to him.
“We didn’t know if he’d come back for that junior year,” Haviland said.
Halloran collected awards at the Tigers’ annual team banquet in a boot and on crutches, having just had surgery on the first hip and a bone spur removed.
That fall, high expectations surrounded the Tigers’ still-intact top line of Halloran, Mason Bergh and Trey Bradley. But they struggled out of the gate and never recaptured the magic of 2017-18.
Halloran’s solo charges up the boards rarely resulted in a good chance. Passes from Bradley that had previously drawn gasps were too far ahead. Haviland didn’t think Halloran looked like himself.
“You could see it in his game that something was going on,” he said.
CC rang in the New Year during an East Coast swing. During that time, the decision was made to shut Halloran down after a jersey-matching 13 points (4 goals, 9 assists). He had the second surgery.
Ten months later, Haviland said, Halloran seemed “more mature” but has the look of his sophomore self in practice.
“I think he’s got a lot to prove,” he added.
Halloran isn’t thinking about a rebound year or recapturing the hype of his sophomore campaign. That’s for everyone else. He’s only looking at Saturday night’s exhibition game against Trinity Western.
“The scouts were nice; it was whatever. But at the end of the day, it’s really if we win hockey games,” he said. “As long as my mindset’s focused on that, everything else will fall into place.
“In life, you’re going to face adversity, and it matters how you bounce back.”
With Bergh and Bradley playing in the pros, Halloran is pleased with the chemistry between the linemates he’s been working with in practice, sophomore Ben Copeland and redshirt senior Chris Wilkie. Wilkie also battled injuries last year and missed the postseason.
“I think we can really do some damage this year,” Halloran said.