Cole MacMillan a threat on the pitch and ice for five years at UPEI

Jason Malloy jmalloy@theguardian.pe.ca
Published on February 19, 2016

Cole MacMillan plays the game one way: hard.

Regardless if it is on the soccer pitch or at the hockey rink, MacMillan has been a great teammate and a pain to play against in Atlantic University Sport (AUS) action.

"He's a type of hockey player that opponents don't like to play against," said UPEI Panthers hockey coach Forbes MacPherson.

"When he's on his game, he's physical, he's hard on pucks, he's first on forecheck, he's playing in all those dirty areas that we like to compete in."

The competitiveness started at a young age.

MacMillan grew up the youngest of three boys and said he, Logan and Ryan were competing all the way back to their mini-stick days.

MacMillan played a lot of sports growing up, but soccer and hockey were his passions.

In 2009-10, he played with the Panthers soccer team and Summerside Western Capitals. UPEI went to the nationals in Toronto that year.

"It's something that happens when you're a rookie and you kind of take it for granted," MacMillan said. "Then you go the rest of your career and figure out how hard that it is to get to."

MacMillan left UPEI following his rookie season to play junior hockey. He spent the next two years with the Moncton Wildcats, Chicoutimi Sagueneens and Amherst Ramblers.

The Panthers announced in June 2012 he was coming home to play soccer and hockey.

"Once the package came that I could play both (sports), it was pretty hard to not take that offer," MacMillan said.

Four years later and MacMillan is in the final season of his Panther career.

He's been a co-athlete of the year at UPEI and an AUS all-star. He also proved he was one of the best in the country when the fullback was named to the all-star team at the nationals in 2014.

MacMillan helped the Panthers to a bronze medal on home turf, and his impact started from the first game against Saskatchewan.

"Cole dominated our backline that day and didn't give them a sniff at our goal," coach Lewis Page remembered.

The Panthers defeated the UQAM Citadins 2-1 to the win bronze medal.

It was a special moment for MacMillan, who had played with many of the Panthers, and for Page, for about a decade.

"It's kind of the cap for my university career and to do it with all those guys," MacMillan said, "it's kind of the cap to all our friendship."

MacMillan has been a team-first player during his career.

When the soccer team was missing some of its top offensive guys in 2013-14, MacMillan moved up and played striker.

When injuries struck the hockey team's blue-line last season, the Stanhope native became a defenceman.

"You definitely don't do it on your own," MacMillan said. "You go to a different position . . . it's the people around you that really make it happen."

MacMillan is not the most vocal guy, but his coaches said when he speaks, guys listen.

While MacMillan is winding down his university career, his impact will be felt long after the skates come off for the final time.

"We set a challenge to him to kind of be a leader and leave leaders behind," Page said.

"He did a great job with our younger players this year, not just modelling the way, but educating them about what it takes to play at this level. He's left a great legacy with all those guys that are going to be so good for us over the next few years." 

 

 

 

Cole MacMillan

Who - A 24-year-old Stanhope native who plays soccer and hockey at UPEI.

Studying - Sociology.

Did you know? Cole is the son of former NHL'er Bobby MacMillan.

Worth quoting: "My dad supports me in everything I do," Cole said. "There's not really much pressure at all. Everyone who comes to these games knows who I am and knows who dad is. There may be a few similarities in our games, but probably overall (we're) pretty different."

 

They said it:

"What people don't realize is how intelligent of a player he is. He's fast, strong and skillful, but his understanding of the game, and the way we play it, is excellent."

Lewis Page, UPEI Panthers head soccer coach.

 

"He's obviously highly successful as a two-sport athlete. He's a dominating soccer player and I think dominating in soccer also brings a swagger to hockey."

Forbes MacPherson, UPEI Panters head hockey coach.

 

Statistics

Soccer    

Season   GP    G     

2009-10  Statistics not available

2012-13  8       0

2013-14  13    7

2014-15  13    0

2015-16  13    1

Hockey

Season   GP   G      A      Pts.  PIM

2012-13  22    3       5       8       37

2013-14  22    3       6       9       34

2014-15  19    3       4       7       26

2015-16  16    2       3       5       33