Coleson Hanrahan leaving imprint on Phantoms

Staff photo / Brian Yauger Phantoms defenseman Coleson Hanrahan participates during the team’s pregame warmups during the Phantoms’ regular season finale in Michigan against the Team USA U17s. Hanrahan is going to take on a larger role this season both on and off the ice with the Phantoms.

CANONSBURG, Pa. — It’s been a wild five months for Youngstown Phantoms defenseman Coleson Hanrahan.

During the midst of a standout season with the NCDC’s P.A.L. Junior Islanders, Hanrahan received the call that he’d be joining the Phantoms.

Junior call-ups are sometimes short-lived as teams deal with injuries and suspensions and need someone in a pinch, but Hanrahan came to Youngstown and didn’t leave.

In 23 regular-season games in Youngstown, the blueliner recorded 7 points (2 goals, 5 assists) and added some much-desired toughness to the lineup.

His impact was felt immediately, and not just on the ice either.

Known as an offensive defenseman during his time in the NCDC, scoring 43 points (7 goals, 36 assists) in 39 games, the defenseman they call “Hammer” does a little bit of everything.

“When he came in, it really changed the dynamic of our locker room last year,” Phantoms coach Ryan Ward said. “He does a little bit of everything, obviously blocks a ton of shots. He’s already blocked like 15 shots (so far) at camp. He’s tough, he’ll stick up for his teammates, he’s a leader, the guys want to get into the fight with him, and I think that’s important (that he) drags guys into it with his energy, his enthusiasm and his juice. We’re excited that he’s back and obviously he’s going to be a complete defenseman for us and take on a much much bigger role this year. We’re ecstatic that we have Hanrahan in the purple, orange and white again.”

Jumping from the NCDC to the USHL the way he did is an endeavor, but it’s one Hanrahan has handled well, cementing himself as a core member of the Phantoms for the near future.

“I can’t really overstate how important Coleson is,” Ward said after a postseason game against Madison. “Coleson comes in from the NCDC, and people forget, he was the best player in that NCDC, so it’s not like Coleson is a bad hockey player. This isn’t the Ronald McDonald House of giving a guy a chance, like Coleson is a really good hockey player that’s going to continue to grow and develop and be really good for the next year or two for us in Youngstown.”

A 19th-round selection in 2023’s USHL Phase II Draft, Hanrahan quickly became a fan favorite for his intensity on the ice and physical play. While not the biggest player on the ice – he is listed at 5 feet 10 inches tall and 170 pounds – the former lacrosse star at Longmeadow High School certainly plays like he is.

That fierce playstyle endeared him to the fanbase almost overnight.

“It’s awesome,” Hanrahan said about the love he’s gotten from Phantom fans since his arrival in February. “Going from playing in front of nobody to having fans really like you. It’s unbelievable.”

Since joining the Phantoms, Hanrahan has been both a calming and energizing presence on the ice. Having that protector on the ice, especially one who can add that offensive touch as well, can only bolster a young player’s confidence as they look to find their game at the USHL level.

“I just try to be a leader like, stick up for guys if they need it,” he said. “As well as lock it down defensive and try to add more offense to my game this year.

“I try to let them play as comfortably as they want, especially the younger guys and just let them know somebody’s there if they need it.”

Expected to be a core leader on the Phantoms this season and taking on an expanded role, there’s a sense of pressure involved, but mostly excitement.

“I’m definitely nervous and excited at the same time,” he said. “Obviously, there’s a lot of expectations because it’s such a great program, and you don’t want to let them down, but it’s exciting.”

During the year, Hanrahan had yet to make a decision on schooling, but when UMass came calling, there was no other option.

“It’s right down the street from me,” Hanrahan said. “It’s been my dream school for my entire life. It was kind of an easy decision.”

Before he makes that jump, however, there’s still one goal to overcome first: a Clark Cup.

Expectations are high this season, and the Phantoms believe they have the roster to make it happen. It’s just a matter of getting out there and doing it.

“We’ve got the guys. It’s just the mindset and sticking together through the whole year,” Hanrahan said.

Despite leaving the Islanders in early February, Hanrahan was still awarded the NCDC’s Atlantic Division 2023-24 Defenseman Of The Year. He had 64 points in 88 career games with the program ranking third in P.A.L. team history among defensemen.

The Phantoms unveiled their season schedule on Tuesday with the team’s home opener set for Oct. 18 against Lincoln.

Have an interesting story? Contact Brian Yauger by email at byauger@tribtoday.com. Follow him on X, formerly Twitter, @_brianyauger.


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