From the NHL to Ivy League, Colin Greening retires from hockey and focuses on Harvard

Colin Greening of St. John's is hanging up the skates and calling it a career after 10 years of pro hockey in the National Hockey League. 

Greening spent 10 years in playing pro hockey

Colin Greening celebrates his team's Calder Cup win. (Leafs Nation)

Colin Greening of St. John's is hanging up the skates and calling it a career after 10 years of pro hockey in the National Hockey League. 

Greening was a seventh round pick to the Ottawa Senators in 2005, and spent his career in Ottawa, and with its American Hockey League affiliate in Binghamton, before being traded to the Toronto Maple Leafs in 2016.

Greening ends his run in the show with the Leafs' AHL affiliate the Toronto Marlies with a Calder Cup championship under his belt — but he's not riding off into the sunset just yet. 

"I did a lot of research on what school I wanted to go to and I focused on all the schools that really valued leadership and developing leaders into something more," Greening told CBC Radio's On The Go.   

"And, in fact, that's exactly Harvard. That's their motto, 'we develop leaders.'"

Greening is no stranger to the post-secondary classroom either. He received an undergraduate degree from Cornell University and played four years of NCAA hockey before turning pro with the Ottawa Senators.

"It's going to be a phenomenal opportunity, not only for me, but for my family. I've got my two-year-old, I've got my wife," he said.

New game

Greening plans to take the sports world by storm but this time through a business avenue.

At 33 years old he said he realized his window in the NHL was slowly closing, and after being told he would be starting the season with the Toronto Marlies, he understood it would be a lofty goal to try to make it back to the big league. 

That's when Greening started to make plans for life after hockey. 

Greening spent 10 years in the NHL, now he turns shifts his focus to the ivy league.

"I still liked playing hockey, but what else is out there? What are some things kind of inspire me? What are some things that I enjoy? Lucky for me I had a lot of relationships and contacts in Toronto," he said.

"So I was able to reach out to a lot of people in the Toronto area, in different industries .... and asking them about how they got started and what do they look for in an ex-athlete."

Mostly, Greening attributes his brother in helping push him over the edge to go back to school.

He told Greening about the benefits of getting an MBA — a degree that will open several different paths in the business world, Greening said.

"Ultimately I felt like going back would be a great opportunity for to be hone my business skills," he said. 

"I'd like to get into consulting. I'd like to stay in sports management."

Newhook on the block

With Newfoundland and Labrador's own Alex Newhook getting drafted in the first round by the Colorado Avalanche in this year's NHL entry draft, Greening had some advice to offer the youngster as he begins to navigate his own professional hockey career.

"Just embrace the pressure, because there is going to be quite a bit of pressure when it comes to being a first rounder," he said. 

"But based on what I've heard, and what I've seen, I feel like he's up to the challenge."

Read more articles from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador

With files from On The Go