2008-09: Colin Blackwell earned his second varsity letter for hockey at Massachusett’s St. John’s Prep and played for the Junior Valley Warriors U16 team that reached the 2009 USA Hockey Nationals.
2009-10: Blackwell was a team captain for St. John’s Prep as a junior and was named a Catholic Conference all-star. Blackwell also played for St. John’s state champion lacrosse team.
2010-11: Blackwell committed to playing for Harvard in 2012-13 while playing for the Junior Bruins in the Eastern Junior Hockey league prior to the high school season. He set a school scoring record at St. John’s Prep as a senior, finishing with 33 goals and 33 assists in 25 games. He had 11 points as St. John’s reached the finals of the Super 8 State Championship and was named the Robbie Ftorek Player of the Year by the Massachusetts high school coaches. Ranked 173rd amongst North American skaters in Central Scouting’s final rankings, Blackwell was selected by San Jose in the seventh round (194th overall) of the 2011 NHL Draft.
2011-12: Blackwell had a good start to his NCAA career as a freshman at Harvard University where the quick skating centerman scored five goals along with 10 assists and a minus five rating while taking 46 PIMs (2nd on team) in 32 games. The freshman was involved in or set-up many important late-game goals for the Crimson this season.
2012-13: Blackwell skated on the top line for Harvard in his sophomore season before suffering a season-ending injury in February. In 21 games for the Crimson he scored 3 goals with 11 assists and was -6 with 10 penalty minutes. Harvard finished last in ECAC Hockey and lost to Dartmouth in a three-game first round playoff series.
2013-14: Blackwell missed the season due to post-concussion issues.
2014-15: Blackwell appeared in one November game for Harvard before returning to the Harvard lineup on a full-time basis at the end of February. Putting his long injury ordeal behind him he was a key force for the Crimson in their surprising tournament run. The junior scored two goals in his third game back against Brown in Harvard’s opening game in the ECAC Tournament first-round series against Brown. Blackwell finished the year with 5 goals and 1 assist and was +1 with 6 penalty minutes in 11 games. The Crimson, after finishing sixth in the regular season, defeated regular season champion Quinnipiac (5-2) and Colgate (4-2) on back-to-back nights to capture the ECAC Hockey playoff title, with Blackwell scoring in the championship game against the Raiders. Nebraska-Omaha defeated Harvard, 4-2, in the NCAA Midwest Regional semifinal.
Blackwell is an intelligent hockey player with some offensive prowess. He is an effective player on both sides of the ice. His quick and accurate shots (he has a good wrist shot and slap shot) give goaltenders fits, especially when he is careening in from the boards on a rush. His style of play might not resonate well in the professional leagues given his size and injury history, though Blackwell has proven time and time again that size is not an issue and he can excel at the level he plays.
Blackwell attended prospect camp with the Sharks over the summer and will resume his collegiate career as a senior at Harvard in 2015-16. That he is still playing after his long absence due to injury is a testament to his dedication and perseverance. At the same time, as a seventh-round pick he faced steep odds at reaching the NHL and his long stretch of inactivity has added to those odds. Harvard should again be one of the top teams in ECAC Hockey and Blackwell will be expected to be a key contributor. It remains to be seen if he can earn an entry-level contract following the season. In terms of pro potential, he projects as a small but active scoring forward.