Comets Tales: The Unknown Keeps it Fun for Robak
by Don LaibleNov 28, 2016
Playing professional hockey has its perks, no question about it. Public notoriety, salaries far beyond the average hourly workers dreams, and personal comfort that few fans could relate to. But, with all that is dangled before them, there are sacrifices made by heroes at home.
Like all hockey players, Comets defenseman Colby Robak knows how good he has it, and not just on the ice.
"She's a trouper," said Comets' defenseman Colby Robak of his wife Colleen. "Every year she puts up with this hockey lifestyle. I give her full credit."
On Nov. 2, while on the west coast signed to professional tryout contract with the Stockton Heat, the Robaks learned it was time to pack up and head east.
Signed to a standard AHL player contract, Colby and Colleen had three days to be in Utica. While the Comets were heading back home to Utica after a trip to St. John's, Robak had his concentration on the upcoming Saturday night road game in Syracuse.
"They were some long days," Robak recalled about the pair's 46-hour long drive from California to New York.
The trouper tag becomes even more fitting to Colleen Robak, given that she is pregnant.
"We're expecting our first child in February," Robak proudly said, after the Comets' 2-1 win at The AUD over Rochester last week.
A couple for five years, the Robaks officially tied the knot this past off-season. On July 9, 2016, Colby and Colleen took their hockey patnership to the next level. Vows of "for better or worse, through good times and bad", take on a whole new meaning in profesional sports.
For the second season in a row, Colby was on the outside looking in, for a contract offer.
"My agent spoke with Stockton, and I received the try-out," explained the first year Comet. "Things pop up, and situations change. We moved forward."
Robak's take on recent Comets winning streak is that which others close to the team are feeling - "It's a step forward for us."
While still very much chasing his dream for Game 48 on National Hockey League ice, Robak welcomes his role on the blueline and in the dressing room as a mentor to less experienced teammates.
"This league is about development. I like to take my experiences, and pass them around, to hopefully make some of my teammates have it a little bit easier," Robak told.
Settling in Utica for Robak remains seamless. Coming from a blue-collar Canadian town of Dauphin, Manitoba (population 8,000) that has produced both Robak and Washington Capitals' coach Barry Trotz, the Comets' defenseman welcomes another temporary residence.
"It's the part of the game, the unknown, that keeps it fun," Robak said with a laugh.
As for being on the "good guys" side of the bench now at The AUD, Robak doesn't hesitate to label Utica as a "tough place" to play on the road. While skating for San Antonio and Rochester last season, Robak remembers the fans' passion directed at visiting teams.
Handling the pressures of professional hockey and preparing for a family in a few months, the Robaks are already veterans on handling what comes their way and dealing with it.