Tijeras native, NMICE grad Coulombe takes next step, signs with NA3HL’s Bighorns for ’23-24
Hunter Coulombe grew up learning the game of hockey in New Mexico, but found his career take a positive turn when he joined the Colorado Springs Tigers AAA program.
Next season, Coulombe will begin his junior hockey career with the Helena Bighorns, a top team in the NA3HL.
“I’ve had the opportunity to skate in front of (Helena GM) Mike Greene for many years as a Colorado Springs Tiger,” Coulombe said. “I have also had many conversations with Coach Damon (Hanson). The Helena Bighorns program reached out and the more I learned about the team, town, and fans, I realized Helena would be a great place to play. I was able to learn more about the NA3 last season as I have many friends and prior teammates that play in the league. With the NA3 modeled after the NAHL, the league provides great development and many opportunities for advancement. I’ve been billeting for a few years playing in Colorado. However, I’ve never been to Montana, so I am excited to experience a new place.”
“Hunter is a very high-end talent with every tool it takes to succeed in hockey,” Greene said. “When you have a guy that is big, fast, good hands, heavy shot and plays with an edge, you have a really good player. Hunter can step in right away and make a difference and be an impact player for us. We are really excited to see him take his game to the next level and it will not take long for the Bighorns fans to enjoy watching Hunter Coulombe.”
With the Tigers, Coulombe said playing for Kevin Holmstrom was a turning point.
“Playing for Coach Holmstrom really helped me develop a good work ethic and helped reinforce my responsibilities, both on and off the ice,” said Coulombe. “He sets high expectations and demands a lot from his players, which I’m sure will help me in junior hockey.”
Coulombe said other coaches that really helped him along the way were Joey Carroll, Zach Neal, Will English. He played with the Tigers from 15U-18U.
“I started playing hockey at the Outpost Ice Arenas in Albuquerque at the age of five,” explained Coulombe. “Our home association is NM Ice, which started out as the Ice Bears and is now known as the Ice Wolves. I got into hockey because my older brother was playing high school hockey and my dad was the coach. We live in a small town called Tijeras, New Mexico. and it’s about a 40-minute drive to the rink.”
Looking ahead, Coulombe has his sights set on success, all revolving around hockey.
“My short-term goals are to play junior hockey at the highest level that I can and continue to grow my game as a top defenseman,” said Coulombe. “My long-term goals are to move on to college hockey and then have a career as either a player, coach, trainer, or other profession in the world of hockey.”
— Matt Mackinder
(July 11, 2023)