THE RETURN OF FALKENHAGEN
Mullets Newest Captain Returns For Round Three
By Brandon Laxson
The Minnesota Mullets are proud to announce the return of now-captain Alex Falkenhagen for the 2022-23 season. The goaltender will enter his third season with the Mullets and first with a “C” on his sweater.
The Markham, Ontario native has made an immediate and lasting impact on the Mullets on and off the ice; earning the captaincy in his final season is evidence of that fact.
He has been trusted to guard the crease in 38 of 88 games and holds an 18-14-4 record through two seasons.
When you think of Alex Falkenhagen, you should think “growth.” In his first season with the Mullies he averaged a 4.16 GAA but improved to 3.20 GAA in his second season. He also improved from an .893 SV% to a .924 SV%.
His first year in the USPHL also showed improvement on his .857 SV% from his previous season at the Hill Academy U18 Prep in Canada.
Good, but not good enough, indicated the goalie. “I am happy with [the stats] as [they were] a big improvement from the seasons before, but I’m looking to improve them even more this season.”
He isn’t the only one with big plans for the goaltender in the near future. Head Coach Chris Walby plans “to give Alex a number of starts and lean on him to log major minutes this season. He’s been incredible for us and I anticipate him being lights out for us this season.”
The extra reps to come will surely help round out the keeper’s skill and confidence.
It’s not just in net where Falkenhagen has seen growth, however. He has also seen a different sort of growth off the ice; particularly in the gym. A look at the goalie’s EliteProspects page might raise some eyebrows as he is currently listed at 6’4” and 209 lbs. There is no doubt that the second mark will change in the coming season.
His size is not only noticeable, it’s useful, Coach Walby commented. “Alex is a big kid. He’s well put together as an athlete and arguably the most fit on the team the last two seasons.”
But unlike most gym rats, Falkenhagen cares about more than just pumping iron. He is one of those student-athletes that puts the “student” aspect first.
“He’s a very good student and school is very important [to him],” mentioned the coach. Getting to play at the collegiate level is a goal of Falkenhagen and he will work very hard to achieve that. He knows playing for the Mullets is the right route to get him there.
“I was unsure how another year would impact my path to the NCAA level, but after several long talks with Walby and other former players, I feel it's the right home for me to end my junior hockey career and give me that path to playing college hockey.”
With his skill on the ice and the dedication in the classroom, a college deal is all but done.
Not only is he a scholar and a skilled player, he is the type of person a college coach wants in the locker room. As a natural leader, many would claim giving the goalie the responsibilities of the captaincy was an obvious choice.
“Alex is going to make a fantastic Captain this season,” said Coach Walby. “He has led by example here the past two seasons, so I see it as a natural fit and an easy transition. He’ll have to take on more of a vocal role this season, which I think will be great for his overall development” adding to the growth of the person and the player.
It’s a role and a responsibility Falkenhagen takes seriously. “Being named captain is a huge honour. It shows that Coach trusts me enough to be a leader within the team” both on and off the ice.
“I feel like being one of the older guys on the team, as well as captain, means I have to lead by example on the ice by also showing up and competing no matter what.” And of course, what else would a fitness-minded captain do but bring along his teammates with him to the gym?
Entering his last year of eligibility, Falkenhagen is chomping at the bit to get started.
“I’m excited to see what next year brings … I’m looking forward to getting back to work with the team. Last year we had a glimpse of success in the playoffs. And I think I speak for all returning players when I say we feel like we can have even more [success] this year. I can’t wait!”