The photo graphic showing the banner hung tonight in Bilek’s honnor is courtesy of the Northeast Generals
The article photo is credited to Army West Point Athletics.
For Colin Bilek, and what he brings to everywhere he plays, Associate Head Coach of Army West Point Zach McKelvie summed up the impact of Bilek, “His compete level and work ethic in games is evident the moment you watch him in games but what people don’t realize is that there is no on/off switch for him. His switch is always on, he has spent hundreds of hours on his own working on every aspect of his game. More importantly though is that his attitude is infectious, he elevates everyone because he genuinely loves the grind of becoming a better athlete and team. So the things that make him so special which often go unnoticed are that his grit is unmatched and he is humble.”
Those special and often overlooked things are just some reasons why no Northeast General will ever wear the number six ever again, as tonight, in a surprise ceremony (the other alums attending knew of the plan to retire Bilek’s number, but not Bilek, his jersey was retired and a banner will hang at New England Sports Village to remind all those who come to Attleboro of who the first model General is, Colin Bilek.
When you think of positive leaders, you tend to think of those that inspire others in their team to be better. Whether on the rink, in the class or in serving our country, Colin Bilek fits all of those things. The former Northeast General had his number retired by an organization that has built on the first two years of legacy Colin helped make. As you see the alums from that group back at Attleboro tonight, remember that the two year timeline for the Generals was one of the most dramatic for an NAHL Expansion team. The group went from single digit wins to the playoffs the following season, and had Colin leading the way.
Despite leading that turnaround, Bilek had one, and only one Division One Offer, Army West Point. He took that offer, and went and consistently worked to improve the Black Knights every day. The legacy of Bilek as a Cadet is not yet finished, but the record of success he has not just on the ice, he’s the leading returning goal scorer, and Captain of the Black Knights is already a remarkable one.
As for Bilek at West Point, McKelvie knew Bilek was in the right spot quickly, saying ” What makes Colin an excellent fit for our program is that he is just a good human being & he pushes everyone around him to be better, coaches included .No doubt a lot of the credit has to go to his parents as they raised a great athlete, leader and person. He is everything we look for in our Cadets.”
On the ice, and beyond for Bilek McKelvie added ” It didn’t take us long to figure out Colin was a good fit for Army. Every time we watched him he stood out because his compete level and his leadership. It’s easy for us to say now but even in the recruiting process we felt like he was a no brainer for both his ability and who is as a human.”
McKelvie also said of Bilek’s night with the Generals for getting his jersey number retired tonight “It’s huge honor for Colin to have his jersey retired. He was a great player for the Generals but his impact on the organization extends far beyond just his play.”
When talking with him for a story coming soon, as a leader of his group getting ready for Army’s season opener one week from today he took the time to talk about positives not just of his line mates, but of every single element and aspect of his team that he could in the 15 minutes we had to chat with him. He is ready to lead the Black Knights, and his legacy inspires the Generals, Army West Point Hockey, and those whom he will lead after his 47 month time at West Point is done. Whether he leads as a second lieutenant right away, or as a professional hockey player as three Black Knight Alums are, those around him wherever he ends up will be better for it, just as the Generals, and the Black Knights are.
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