DRYDEN, Ont. – Former Dryden GM Ice Dog sniper Cole Golka has been turning some heads down in Alabama. The Alberta native remains a protected player for the 2019-2020 season with the Southern Pro Hockey League’s Birmingham Bulls after a great showing during the President’s Cup finals.
Golka played four seasons with the NCAA division III St. Scholastica College Saints in Duluth before turning pro and heading down south.
Ice Dogs’ social media guy Mike Nerino had an opportunity to talk with Cole recently.
Mike: What is your greatest memory of playing in Dryden?
Cole: I had such an amazing time in Dryden. I wasn’t sure how I felt about being traded there, but it was one of the best things that ever happened in my hockey career. The people involved in the team were incredible. The entire season was one to be remembered with so many great memories. I couldn’t pinpoint one memory in particular.
M: How did playing for the Dudley-Hewitt Cup affect your goal setting for the future?
C: It’s really important to go as far as you can every season you play. Colleges/Universities and pro teams want winners. They go to watch the playoffs. Making it to the DHC definitely helped expand the number of options I had to play beyond junior.
M: You played div III NCAA with St. Scholastica, how hard was it to balance your passion for the game and your academics?
C: Being a student athlete is a challenge. You have to take care of your school and you are expected to do well in the classroom because you’re a role model on campus. Time management and balance are keys to excelling both on the ice and in the classroom.
M: What is the biggest take away you’ve had so far playing pro?
C: Pro is completely different than junior or college hockey. It’s another step up. Everyone is bigger, stronger, faster, smarter, etc. With that being said, it’s the most fun I’ve ever had playing hockey. The pro game suited me well. It’s pretty cool to be able to say I played pro hockey especially after the challenging career path I had to take. It’s no doubt that Dryden helped me to where I am today.
M: Any final words for this year’s contingent of Junior “A” Ice Dogs coming into the Dog Pound?
C: Junior is one of the best times in your life. Enjoy it no matter where you’re playing and whether you think you want to be there or not. Make the best of your opportunity and strive to be the best version of yourself you can be. Strive to be better EVERY SINGLE DAY. Do the little things right: eat well, train your body, be the hardest worker at practice, respect your coach and your billets, and don’t forget have balance – go make a few memories with the boys after a week of wins (not losses) WINS. If you think junior is fun, just wait until you go to college. If you thought college was fun, just wait until you play professionally (if that’s what you choose). It keeps getting better and better and better. Hockey is an amazing game. The opportunities it will bring you will extend far beyond the game itself. Work hard and enjoy every minute of your hockey career – it’ll be over before you know it.
Cole Golka played one season in Dryden and was a dominant forward punching his ticket to the Dudley-Hewitt Cup, being named a CJHL Central All-Star, and picking up various other accolades as one of the franchise’s top points producers in a single season.