It wasn’t an easy trip, with a couple flight cancellations, but Austin Whelan finally made it to his second home of Cochrane Saturday night to be honoured by the Crunch.

The left winger from Richmond Hill played for the junior hockey team from 2016 to 2019.  He’s now a freshman at Curry College in Boston.

Whelan’s a business management major.  He sees it as a way to stay in hockey.

“I just love the game of hockey and I just want to stay in it,” he says emphatically. “Playing, coaching, anything.  I want to stay as long as I can in the game.”

Austin Whelan with his Cochrane Crunch 2018-19 top defensive player award and a commemorative plaque from the team.
(Bob McIntyre, staff)

He says what he’ll remember most about his three years in Cochrane is “definitely the people”.

He says his billets, Kim and Dean Belisle, treated him like their own, as did the entire town.

“I left home when I was 16, not knowing this place existed,” Whelan recalls. “And these guys welcomed me with open arms.  It ended up being a home away from home and these guys are always going to have a special place in my heart throughout my life.”