Timmins excited for new start
Conor Timmins is going from the mountains to the desert.
The 22-year-old Thorold resident was recently dealt from the Colorado Avalanche to the Arizona Coyotes in a multi-player trade that saw starting goaltender Darcy Kuemper head the other way.
“It was pretty surprising,” Timmins said. “I wasn’t expecting it but with what happened in free agency with (Philipp) Grubauer leaving, the Avalanche needed to pick up a goalie.
“I think it will be a great opportunity for myself. Colorado was a great organization but I’m happy to start this new chapter in my life.”
Timmins, who was a restricted free agent, quickly agreed to a two-year, $1.7 million contract with the Coyotes.
“I’ve spoken to general manager Bill Armstrong and head coach Andre (Tourigny). We’ve had some good talks. They’re really excited to get me as a player and I’m really excited to be going there. It’s going to be a young, rebuilding team and it’s going to be fun to be part of that.”
Timmins, who grew up playing minor hockey in the frigid Thorold Arena, doesn’t figure he will have much of a problem adjusting to hockey in the desert.
“I think it will definitely be interesting,” he said. “It will be something new for me but from what I’ve heard it’s a great place to live and obviously no one complains about nice weather all year around. I’m looking forward to getting out there and getting acclimated with the city.”
Timmins, who was selected in the second round of the 2017 National Hockey League draft by the Avalanche, made his NHL debut in Colorado in 2019. He had seven assists in 31 regular-season games with the Avalanche this past year and appeared in 10 playoff games.
“I think it was a great learning experience for me,” Timmins said, of his first full season in the NHL. “You’re watching the older players that are around you and learning little tips and tricks from them and our coaching staff in Colorado was great in helping me out.
“The team does a great job of suppling us with resources so as an individual you have to mature and grow up pretty fast. It’s what you’ve wanted to do your whole life so it’s easy to make sacrifices for it and put in the time and energy for your craft. It’s something I enjoy doing and I’ve learned to love a lot.”
Timmins took some time off after the season and is now making the commute a few times a week from Thorold, where he is living with his parents, Dan and Sandra Timmins, to Toronto to work out and skate.
“I took a couple of weeks off after the season to rest mentally and physically,” he said. “Once you do that you want to get right back at it and hopefully improve for the next season. I know everyone around the league is putting the time in this summer so you want to take that next step and grow your game and do whatever you can to improve for next season.”
Timmins began his junior career with the Thorold Blackhawks 2014/15— his father previously owned the team and coached them to their only Sutherland Cup in 2005 — before finishing up the season with the St. Catharines Falcons.
“That was a great year for me,” he said. “I really enjoyed myself. It was my first taste of junior hockey and playing with older guys. I definitely look back pretty fondly on my year in Thorold and St. Catharines.”
Timmins then went on to three seasons with the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds, where he established himself as one of the top defenceman in the Ontario Hockey League before suffering a concussion at the end of his final season. He continued to have symptoms that kept him from playing in any games in the 2018–19 season.
“I’ve put all of that behind me,” he said. “It was a test and some adversity I had to overcome and now I’m just looking ahead to the future and I’m really excited where I can go from here.
“I think throughout the whole process I tried to stay in the moment and take it day by day and do whatever I could to hopefully help myself heal. The Avs did a great job supporting me with all the resources I needed and all the best doctors. I was pretty positive throughout the whole thing. Obviously I had my ups and downs, but I knew at some point I would recover and be back on my hockey career path.”
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