The NCAA’s mandatory transfer year is, by most accounts, frustratingly dull. Missing his pets, Colorado College’s Bailey Conger decided to try out a dog-sitting service.
No respite there either. The gig never got off the ground.
No more need for distractions, though — the redshirt sophomore is healthy, eligible and ready as the Tigers’ new season approaches.
“It was definitely a slow, long year, but it went by fast enough to be here,” Conger said.
Listed at 6-foot-1, 177 pounds, the forward had a goal and four assists in 24 games his freshman year at Providence. Conger tore his ACL playing for the Friars in the NCAA Tournament.
The rehab kept him off the ice until the next Christmas, which he considered a small blessing.
He said his parents encouraged the side project. His mother, Ronda, vice president of Idaho’s largest home builder, has quite the side project of her own — she’s a motivational speaker with a book, “Better Human”, that Conger lists as his favorite.
“Hopefully she’ll come and talk to the boys,” Conger said.
Hockey will remain his top project. Conger said he wants to be general manager of a team someday.
“I could name every stat you want,” Conger said. “Anything hockey, I’ve got it in my memory. I just eat, sleep and breathe hockey.”
“He’s kind of a hockey junkie, I think,” CC coach Mike Haviland confirmed. “He loves it. He loves the game.”
That love flourished off the beaten path. Idaho has sent only a handful of players to the college ranks. St. Lawrence’s Bo Hanson also hails from Boise. Another is right across town in Air Force’s Erich Jaeger, who’s from Coeur d’Alene.
If Boise had a team, Conger said he’d still be in his beloved home state.
But Colorado was a good place to continue his career, and the Tigers were willing to see him through a grueling recovery.
“They’ve taken great care of me to help me get back,” Conger said of CC’s coaching and training staffs. “They never pushed me.”
Haviland said Conger has looked to be “in great shape” during CC’s limited ice time ahead of its Oct. 5 exhibition against Trinity Western.
“I’m just excited to play,” Conger said. “Whatever the coaches need from me, I’ll be there.”