If Cornell has a 2020-21 college hockey season, senior forward Tristan Mullin will become the latest Cornellian to wear the ‘C.’
Mullin has scored 21 goals and recorded 28 assists in 89 games over three seasons at Cornell, and spent much of last season on the Red’s best defensive line. The Cartwright, Manitoba, native posted a career-high 22 points last season after coming onto the scene with 21 as a sophomore.
The 6-foot-2, 192-pound winger has 11 career power-play goals, seven of which came last season. Mullin showed off his ability to get hot offensively, scoring 16 of his 22 points in the season’s final 16 games.
The team also named alternate captains, all seniors: forward Kyle Betts, defenseman Cody Haiskanen and forward Brenden Locke. This is the first time Cornell will have three players wear the ‘A’ since the 2004-05 season.
“I am very excited for this group to be named leaders of our program,” head coach Mike Schafer ’86 said in the release. “They all bring a unique approach to the game and pursuing excellence. They play well in big games, have a tremendous work ethic and they are connected to all four classes.”
Betts has been one of his team’s best defensive forwards since his freshman year, and has shown flashes of offense: He scored six points in his final eight games last season, and as a sophomore caught fire in the playoffs, tallying three goals and an assist in seven postseason games.
After being eased in as a freshman, Haiskanen has established himself as a top-six defenseman and good penalty killer. If his team plays in 2021, he’ll have to pick up some of the key minutes created by the early departure of Alex Green, who signed with the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Locke, who has spent chunks of his career centering a top line with classmates Cam Donaldson and Morgan Barron — the latter of whom signed with the New York Rangers and, like Green, won’t be back for his senior year — ranked second on the team in scoring last season with 26 points on eight goals and 18 assists. Locke has posted double-digit assists in all three seasons he’s been on East Hill.
The team hopes that some sort of season is on the horizon. If they’re able to play, the team’s leadership is going to face unprecedented challenges. The Ivy League announced over the summer that no competition would take place before the end of the fall semester, and in July, ECAC Hockey said it was developing “schedule models” for a 2020-21 season.
“These four and the senior class as a whole know what it takes to prepare, compete, adapt and overcome adversity,” Schafer said. “That’s really helped our team over the last three years.”
Cornell, which ascended to the No. 1 spot in the national rankings before the pandemic brought the 2019-20 season to a screeching halt right before the playoffs, missed one of the program’s best chances in years to win a national championship.
The Red won’t be able to simply replace its best offensive player and captain in Barron and a key defenseman in Green. But senior goaltender Matt Galajda, one of the best netminders in the country, will be back for his fourth season, Locke and Donaldson headline a list of dynamic offensive weapons and Cornell has shown an ability to quickly develop young defensemen into solid options on the blue line.
Cornell athletic teams have moved into Phase 2 of the Ivy League’s reactivation plan. Leaders of college hockey conferences announced a plan last month to delay the start of the season until at least late November, but that’s complicated by the six Ivy League teams, who aren’t allowed to start competition until at least late December.