Wallingford’s Pat Mullane is in the midst of his first professional hockey season with the AHL’s Rockford IceHogs after graduating from Boston College last spring.
Mullane got off to a slow start this winter, but has found his groove since the start of the new year. He has scored each of his three goals in the last six games for the Chicago Blackhawks’ affiliate. Mullane also has five assists.
“The season is going good,” Mullane said Monday. “It’s a lot more difficult than college, but I enjoy being a pro. It’s long season — a grind — and it takes a toll on your body, but I’m still living a dream.”
Mullane, who came up through the Wallingford Hawks youth hockey program before going to Avon Old Farms, was a captain at Boston College. He won two national championships in his four years with the Eagles, scoring 42 goals and dishing out 98 assists in his college career.
With the IceHogs, Mullane’s playing time has gone up as the season has gone on.
“It’s like college,” Mullane said. “I had to prove myself at first and then I got more playing time. You have to earn your respect and you have to be up for the coach’s challenges.”
The forward said he has learned a lot since the beginning of the season.
“When you are a pro, you have to care of your body,” Mullane said. “At the same time, it’s my job. I learned early that eating right and getting treatment is important. That is what I’m getting used to.”
The IceHogs are 18-19-4-2 and are battling to get into the postseason. Their parent club in Chicago is the defending Stanley Cup champ.
“It’s a great experience being a part of the Blackhawks organization,” Mullane said. “We are a young team with nine or 10 rookies and are fighting for a playoff spot.”
Mullane has played against good friend and fellow Wallingford native Lee Moffie twice this season. Moffie, a former standout at University of Michigan, is in the Colorado Avalanche organization. The defenseman has played five games for the AHL’s Lake Erie Monsters and 24 with the CHL’s Denver Cutthroats.
“I played against Lee last week,” Mullane said. “He has been up and down a little bit this year with the CHL and the AHL. Colorado has a lot of defensemen. He’s learning the same things that I am in the first year of being a pro. But it was fun playing against him. We played against each other once in college. We are both living out our dreams.”