Prior to the Manitoba Junior Hockey League pausing due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Quinn Mulder was playing a shutdown role for the Swan Valley Stampeders.
Part of that role included taking more defensive zone draws and being counted on to kill penalties. However, the former 100 Mile House Wrangler still found himself fourth in team scoring with two goals and nine points in nine games. Mulder skated on a line with another former Wrangler, Cody Barnes and Carter Cockburn. The Terrace product says his linemates are a big part of that offensive success.
Mulder kicked off his Stampeders career with a goal and two points against the OCN Blizzard on Oct. 9.
“As a line I don’t think we are asked to or expected to produce a whole lot,” he says, adding that takes some of the pressure off to produce. “We find ways to help the team out and to get some points on the board.”
A defenceman turned forward, Mulder considers himself a defensive forward, but his role has him playing a two-way game.
Mulder and Barnes have developed chemistry with Cockburn, a local product who is in his third season with the Stampeders. While Mulder has had a good offensive start, that came after a shaky beginning in camp that made him question his chances of making the team. A lack of available ice in Terrace and COVID-19 restrictions prevented Mulder from preparing for training camp as he would have liked. Mulder started to prove himself and feel good about his play when the regular season began.
“It’s definitely a step up as far as the play as there are no bad players,” says Mulder of the MJHL. “It’s like playing with a lot of good players from the KI and the style players play with is like playing KI all-star teams. There’s no nights where you can let off the gas at all.”
Mulder’s coach is Barry Wolff, who he had as a guest coach with the Wranglers last November for a month.
Wolff says they were patient with him during training camp knowing Mulder had not skated since March. Wolff has known Mulder since his minor hockey days, having seen him in an evaluation camp in his last year of midget.
“At that time we all saw there was something there and he had a chance to play at a high level if he continued to develop,” says Wolff. “He is a great person and teammate.”
During Stampeders camp, Wolff saw the six-foot-one, 185 pound forward improve each day and says that is something you look for in a player – one that wants to get better and improve. He sees that Mulder has a strong work-ethic, high-end compete and is very coachable.
“You can build quality teams with players having that identity,” says Wolff. “He earned a spot to start the season and quickly grew into a regular in the line up.”
Mulder’s playing got stronger and he showed he was willing to adjust and learn to earn quality ice time in all situations – PP, PK, defensive zone faceoffs used in the last minute of the period or game. Mulder became a player the Stampeders can rely on and trust to play the right way.
“Mulder brings this every night and adds secondary scoring,” says Wolff, of the MJHL’s leading rookie scorer.