A New Year For Franklin
CLOUD NINE—NEW YORK
If you’re a regular reader of Columbia Hockey Writers articles, you are all too familiar with the many controversies surrounding the team. One thing they never told me in the Assistant Junior Reporter Training Program was that it wasn’t all happy articles. So far, I have had a few hard days writing these sometimes-negative articles about players that I am around all the time and get to know on a personal level. One of the more popular articles was questioning whether rookie forward Dennis Franklin was going to stick with the big club or whether he would be sent down to ACHA Div. 4 Barnard (bɑ:h-nɑ:d) Cubs. As we know, coach Bruce Baker does not allow players to wear the patented Columbia navy-blue Q helmets until he is certain they will be full time members of the team. Dennis Franklin was the laughingstock of the league as teams he was playing against knew he was a bubble player because of his white helmet.
Laugh no longer, opponents.
Late last night, soon after the clock struck midnight and 2019 turned to 2020, I had the pleasure of being the only media member to witness Dennis’ big moment. After a 3 hour mandatory New Years Eve practice that ended at midnight, Coach Baker approached Dennis to hand him his navy-blue Q helmet. It was a scene that words will be hard to describe but I will do my best to recreate this special moment between coach and rookie.
It started with Coach Baker hearing from a friend of a friend that Dennis needed to develop his scoring instincts near the goal crease. Baker noticed that Franklin’s tendency was to go five-hole in tight, and while this was a good play in ACHA D4, goaltenders like Carl Lorenz saw through his deceptions in the big league. Therefore, Baker had Franklin go backhand upstairs on goaltender Justin Paik 200 times before he could leave the ice. I knew something was going to happen after the training session as I witnessed Bruce loosen his tie ever so slightly and undo the top button of his crisp white dress shirt, which paired perfectly with his brand-new charcoal grey three-piece suit. Bruce slicked back his hair, which luminously reflected the bright lights of the Columbia Hockey Training Facility, put down his puck bag, and shot Franklin a quick glance before pulling out the infamous helmet.
“Remember when you didn’t get 3 goals in the first game?” Baker said.
“Yeah,” Franklin replied.
“Let’s not have that happen again,” Baker stated, completely serious, handing Franklin the helmet.
This is the moment when Franklin knew he was not getting sent down to Barnard for the year and that he had made the big club. Franklin, like a kid on Christmas morning, put it on immediately and seemingly has not taken it off since.
I spoke to fellow rookie Weston Goodman about what it means to the team for Franklin to finally be on board and he had this to say: “I received my helmet on day 1 of training camp. I honestly just assumed there was a back order on Amazon or something and that’s why he didn’t have his yet. Nevertheless, it is a positive that he will stop trying to wear my helmet for games.”
Only time will tell if coach Baker has made the right decision, but if his suit game is any indication of his coaching abilities, he is never wrong. Whether Franklin has actually earned this opportunity or if Baker is keeping him up with the big boys for future development remains to be seen. But for now, Franklin will continue his underwhelming rookie season where he has 21 goals and 46 points in 12 games.