Rattling off two separate 13-game winning streaks, the Chicago Steel ran through opponents in 2019-20, going 41-7-1 and outscoring their opponents 242-136.
Sam Colangelo had a fantastic year himself and says that perhaps the biggest accomplishment he felt the team had was when they were without five of their top players.
“Probably one of the coolest things about our team is when myself and four other guys were at the World Junior A Challenge and the team went 4-0,” Colangelo said. “After that, we really took off I think and started to play our best hockey. We realized how good we could be when we played our best. It’s unfortunate to have things end the way they did, but we had a lot of success. It was really cool to be a part of it and it will probably be one of the best teams I’ve ever played for.”
Colangelo, a native of Stoneham, Mass., scored 58 points in 44 games for the Steel and was a key cog in the offensive drive that the Steel possessed.
Four of the top five scorers at the end of the season in the USHL played for the Steel in Colangelo, Brendan Brisson, Mathieu De St. Phalle and Gunnarwolfe Fontaine, but Colangelo said the points weren’t the main focus for the group.
“The points do speak for themselves, but we didn’t really care about who was scoring. I played with all of them throughout the year, there weren’t many set lines until the end until I played with Sean and Brendan but I was with Gunnarwolfe throughout a lot of the season. We didn’t really care about the points. We just wanted to have fun playing hockey and listened to what our coaches were telling us and it really helped.”
Colangelo says that while his relationships solidified with his teammates over the past couple of years, he had some connections to some of them before he even arrived in Chicago.
“I’ve known Sean since I was seven or eight years old,” Colangelo said. “We sat next to each other in the locker room this year, and whenever the beanpot was on we’d chirp each other and joke around. Northeastern beat Harvard in the first round this year, so I gave him some crap about that, but Gunnar and I had the same path, we started out at Lawrence (Academy) and he came to Chicago a year before me, but we will probably be roommates next year at school. Playing together in the Beanpot is something that we’ve both talked about for quite a while now.”
Heading to Northeastern
Committed to Northeastern, Colangelo said he chose the lesser-known Boston school because of his relationship with the coaching staff.
“Northeastern was the first school I toured when I was in eighth grade and I built a relationship with Coach (Jerry) Keefe and Coach (Jim) Madigan. Two years later they were the first Beanpot school to offer me. I thought about it for a bit and thought that Coach Keefe knew my game better than maybe I even knew it myself. He really seemed to want to work with me down the road, my relationship with him has really evolved and I’m excited to be a Huskie.”
Playing in The Beanpot is every kid from New England’s dream and Colangelo is no exception. (from ‘The Beanpot, Boston’s Provincial Hockey Tournament, Gets a Global Boost,’ New York Times, 02/10/2020) He has a lot of connections with players for the other Boston teams, and he said he’s excited about the opportunity at Northeastern next year.
“It’s always fun to play against your friends,” Colangelo said. “My best friend growing up was Jake Wise, and he’s at Boston University now. We talked about it all the way back when we were six years old. We won’t be playing together, but playing against him will be just as fun. I know players on all three of the other teams, and it’ll be pretty cool to play against all of them.”
On the ice, Colangelo believes that Northeastern’s rise in Boston and their success in the Beanpot was something that he wants to be a part of, and he’s excited about the ride.
“Northeastern is on the come-up right now. About five or ten years ago, Boston University and Boston College were the top schools in Boston. Northeastern has shown a lot over the last couple of years. Last year they won hockey east and the Beanpot and they won it this year for the third year in a row. It was something I wanted to be a part of.”
Preparing for the NHL Draft
Colangelo is projected currently to be a second or third-round pick by most outlets but he said that throughout the year, he tried not to think about it much.
“Right now, of course, a lot of it is up in the air and we don’t know how and whether it’s going to happen,” Colangelo said. “We know it’s our draft year, but we tried not to think about it or talk about it much in the locker room, but you always have it in the back of your mind. It’s a dream to get drafted into the NHL, I try not to think about it too much, it’s going to be cool to be selected and it’s a dream of mine.”
Colangelo said there is one consistent thing he knows will happen when it comes to the draft.
“I’ll be with my family whether it’s at the draft if it happens, or at home with my parents,” Colangelo said. “They pushed me to become the person, more importantly, but best player I could be, it’s obviously going to be a dream come true for me, seeing their hard work pay off too. They’ll be proud, and seeing them happy will be the best part about it.”
Family is essential to the growth of a hockey player, and Colangelo is no different. His connection to hockey runs through his memories with his family, and how he remembers hockey as a youngster.
“Hockey is everything to me. It’s been my main sport since I was three years old, my dad had me on the ice when I was seven months old, the camaraderie with your teammates makes it so much fun to play. Winning and scoring goals is great, but the memories you make with your teammates is something that lasts a lifetime, that’s everything to me and there’s nothing that I love more.”