Matt Mulvey Has Blossomed Into A Dual Threat Defenseman – and Team Captain
By Ross Forman
He ultimately wanted to strictly play roller-hockey, but his brother promised to buy Matt any stick he wanted if I played ice.
“I can’t thank him enough for convincing me,” Matt said, years later.
Now 17, Mulvey is a senior at Conant High School. He lives in Elk Grove Village and plays defense for the Northwest Chargers 18U CSDHL team. This is his fifth season wearing a Chargers’ jersey – two years of bantam, one at 16U NIHL, one at 18U NJPHL, and now with his Central States crew.
The 6-foot, 159-pound, right-handed shooting Mulvey sports jersey No. 14.
“My first game ever was with the Glen Ellyn Admirals as a mite (and) I could barely ice skate,” Mulvey admitted. “I remember my sister laughing at me because I looked like a figure skater, uncontrollably twirling until I finally fell on the ice.”
Flash-forward to the present – Mulvey has developed into one of the best players on his team, with the “C” on his jersey to showcase his leadership skills, too.
“Matt’s game is consistent, a consummate defenseman whose goal is to stop his opponent from scoring, and to assist his teammates on the offensive side of the puck,” said Chargers coach Mike Tompkins. “He is the type of player that every coach and player wants on his/her team.”
The Chargers have had a slow start, with a 2-7-1 record in their first 10 games, including a 6-2 loss to Glenbrook North and 4-1 to Stevenson – two high school teams that rank among the season-opening Top 20 high school rankings. (See HERE for a full list of the Top 20 Illinois High School Hockey Team Rankings.)
“We’re fast, young, and skilled and aren’t afraid to take the body. I think we can definitely make an impact in the league this year and our goal should be nothing less than the state championship,” Mulvey said. “We started out a bit slow, but I’m not worried. We have kept up with some very skilled teams and once we perfect the little things, we will be a major contender in Central States.”
Mulvey said the team’s strength is its depth. “We have players who can produce on all four lines. Also, we have great speed in our forward group as well as on the back end,” he said.
Mulvey said the mix of players from various schools has been a plus. “It’s allowed me to meet some of my best friends; I don’t think I would’ve met them if I played on a single high school team,” he said.
Mulvey is a puck-moving defenseman who isn’t afraid to join the offensive rush. He’s continually working on the transition from being a defensive-defenseman to more of a two-way defenseman, especially since he is now more confident with the puck.
He models his game after Duncan Keith, who Mulvey tagged as, “a 200-foot player (who) controls the pace of the game whenever he’s on the ice.” Mulvey added, “(Keith’s) reads and defensive awareness make him crucial to his team’s success.”
Tompkins added, “(Matt) leads by example, whether it’s at hockey with his commitment and hard work, or academically where his hard work earned his selection to the National Honor Society. His school spirit is off the charts.”
Mulvey is the leader of the Cougar Crazies at Conant – a school spirit club, with a large influence on activities at the northwest suburban school.
“We support the football and basketball teams by gathering crowds, starting tailgates, fundraising, decorating, etc.,” Mulvey said. “The first game (of the football season), we had a record-breaking crowd and the first Conant football win in 12 games. It was especially exciting coming off a 0-9 (season in 2016); the energy was amazing.
“As a group, our main goal this year is to raise awareness and donations for breast cancer. This is for my two best friends who both lost their mothers to breast cancer.”
In fact, on Oct. 6, a local news team came to Conant at 5 a.m., to discuss the Crazies. “We gathered as many students as we could to show support for breast cancer awareness. We were in a segment on ABC7 about Conant’s fundraising for the cause. On top of that, we ran a dunk tank in which all proceeds were donated to research. Our student section is also doing two pink-themed games to raise additional awareness, one of them being (during) homecoming.”
Mulvey said being part of the Crazies “is probably the most fun way to get involved as a senior. The underclassmen look up to you, and you get a big role in decision-making for the school.
“As the leader, I was able to pick my friends to run the student section with me and act as senior leaders.”
So, ugh, how do the Cougar Crazies help/impact your hockey?
Mulvey also will assist the Chargers’ Halloween food drive, which will help benefit a local food pantry stock its shelves for the upcoming holiday season. “I am extremely proud of this young man, and am glad that I have the opportunity to be his coach,” Tompkins said.
Mulvey is still undecided on college, though he is considering Illinois, Miami of Ohio, Indiana and Iowa. He plans to major in finance.
More From Matt Mulvey
Favorite NHL Team: Chicago Blackhawks
Favorite NHL Player: Auston Matthews
Favorite Sport (Other Than Hockey): Golf
Favorite Pro Athlete: Conor McGregor
Favorite App: Snapchat
Favorite TV show: Narcos
Favorite Sports Movie: Rocky
Hardest Slapshot On Your Team (Excluding Yourself): Michael O’Sullivan
Teammate Who, Someday, Will Make A Great Coach (Excluding Yourself): Joe Rice: “He’s a really smart guy and always knows what to say.”
Best Local Jerseys (other than the Chargers): Sabres
Worst Local Jerseys (other than the Chargers): Leafs
Personal Goal For The Season: “I would like my plus/minus to be around +10 by the end of the year.”
Giving Thanks: “Coach Tompkins has been a huge help as far as my development. Since he met me (as a) bantam, he always saw my upside and made an extra effort to improve my game. Last year with Coach T, I feel like my game improved more than ever before.”
Ross Forman has written about Illinois high school hockey for more than 15 years, and is the only sportswriter to have covered Illinois High School hockey every year during that stretch. He played locally and then at Indiana University before becoming a referee. Ross was a referee for the State Championship game several years ago at the United Center. Contact Ross by email at Rossco814@aol.com.