Leaf Profile: Colton Malmsten looks ahead to better days for the boys in the Green and White
Throughout the KIJHL season The Nelson Daily Sports Editor Bruce Fuhr will take a capsule look at the players on the Nelson Leafs hockey club.
Today the focus in on Yellowknife, NWT, native Colton Malmsten.
Malmsten is a spirited player who likes the rough going.
This is where the story begins for Colton Malmsten — a quiet young boy lacing up the skates at the tender age of four years old.
Fast forward to the year 2011, and our hero is all grown up to a massive 6-foot and a muscular 175-pounds.
He’s also feistier as the 18-year-old Northwest Territory native looks to mow down the opposition as a member of the Nelson Leafs hockey club.
“I’m a rugged player who likes to play physical,” Malmsten said from inside the Leafs training room.
“That’s the way I’ve always played . . . but I’m going to try to stay out of the box more this year. It’s been a problem of mine in the past. But it’s getting better.”
Well a little.
Malmsten, who had 262 penalty minutes last season, has dropped to only 76 minutes in almost half the season played.
Malmsten didn’t come to the Leafs straight from the Yellowknife.
After a few years in northern Canada, the Malmsten family moved to Kelowna for a change of scenery.
Playing most of his minor hockey career on rep teams, Malmsten graduated from the minor ranks to play for the Okanagan Rockets of the B.C. Major Midget League.
However, before suiting up that season for the Rockets Malmsten attended the Leaf camp on the urging of a family friend.
The decision paid dividends and started Malmsten junior hockey career.
“A brother of one of my buddies played here in Nelson and his dad told me about the Leafs,” Malmsten, who played his first game Sunday in Beaver Valley after a short stint on the injury list.
“I was already committed to playing Major Midget so I came to the Leafs camp to try affiliated with Nelson. It all turned out good and I got two games with the Leafs that season.”
During his short stay in the Heritage City, Malmsten liked what he saw. The people were friendly and he loved the Nelson and District Community Complex Arena.
So Malmsten decided to return to the Leaf camp last season, playing 44 games for the Green and White.
“This is a great arena for junior B hockey,” said Malmsten, with nine goals and eight assists for 17 points this season for Nelson.
“I never really wanted to play in Kelowna and just love playing hockey in front of the Nelson fans every time we play a home game.”
Malmsten’s gritty style of play may have been his undoing as the speedy winger missed a check in Fernie during a recent game against the Ghostriders.
The result cost him a few games on the disabled list with an upper body injury.
Of course, the wicked schedule that say the Leaf play 19 games before October 31 didn’t help either.
“It sure was a pretty hectic schedule in October and I think the whole team kind of got worn down,” said Malmsten, who liked his first season in Nelson so much he decided to stay and work during the off-season. “But we’re starting to get better now.”
The injuries cost the Leafs big time in the standings. Once the pride of the Murdoch Division, Nelson has slipped behind front running Beaver Valley and West Kootenay rival Castlegar Rebels into third spot.
To as insult to injury, Nelson is 1-3 against the high-flying Hawks. Still Malmsten refuses to toss in the towel just yet.
“We’re now starting to get our players back and when we do we’ll be more of a threat because of our depth,” Malmsten explained.
“Even though we lost (leading scorer Patrick) Martens, we’ve still got guys on this team who can score and contribute in other ways.”
Included in the mix ready to return the Leafs to the top of the Murdoch Division is that quiet, now turned feisty, young man from Yellowknife.
Colton Malmsten Fast Facts:
Born: Yellowknife, NWT
Position: Right wing
Pre-game meal: Nothing really, but generally pasta
Favourite Team: Edmonton Oilers
Favourite Music: Country
Hobbies other than hockey: Fishing
Future goals: Play in the BCHL and get a hockey scholarship