The Minnesota Mullets are glad to announce the return of veteran Austin Poole. The defenseman posted five points (1-4=5) in 35 games for the Mullets last season and recorded a short-handed assist.
Originally from Arizona, Poole traded the desert heat for the winter blizzards right around his time to play bantam, which he did for Eden Prairie at the 14U A level. Before that, he played in Scottsdale for the Arizona Bobcats 14U AAA team, similar to new Mullets’ recruit Ben Willcoxson who played for the Bobcats’ 15U, 16U, and 18U teams.
Poole previously spent time in Des Moines, Iowa with the Buccaneers program. He recorded 15 points (1-14=15) between their 18U AAA and Midget Major teams before heading back home to Minnesota to play for the Mullets.
Besides Poole himself, Mullets’ Head Coach Chris Walby might be one who is most longing for his return to the ice.
“I’m very excited to have another season with Austin. He was great for us last year and I’m excited to build on what we’ve started.
“Austin played in several big games last year and in crucial moments. His role increased all season long and I see him getting a lot of ice this fall.”
Poole was given the opportunity to play in all three playoff games during his rookie season, where he recorded an assist. He also saw valuable icetime in other pivotal contests and tough rivalry matchups. The 2022-23 season will be a great place for him to pick up where he left off.
His hockey IQ is superb already and developing more every day. “Austin sees the ice very well. He makes a great first pass and became very comfortable carrying the puck as the season progressed,” said Coach. It is this comfortability and intelligence, coupled with his great skating ability, that will give Poole more opportunities to become a playmaker in the offensive zone.
Besides his on-ice play, Coach Walby will rely on the seasoned player for his leadership qualities and experience. “He is going to help anchor a young, but very promising, defensive core and bring his veteran leadership to the group.”
With the handful of newly-acquired defenders, Poole stands out as the guys will surely look to him for leadership on the back-end. It is a role he is willing, and able, to fill.
“[Being a veteran] means to me that I will have to step into the role of being a leader to other teammates and help them progress and have fun with their hockey careers no matter what their end goal is … I am honored to have this role on a junior team and be a role model to help the rookies see what junior hockey is all about.”
What kind of leader will Poole be? He aims to be a leader like the veterans before him were. “Last year on the Mullets the veterans did a great job with helping me strive forward and become more confident with the puck with some constructive criticism along the way.”
With his future and college on his mind, Poole will be working hard to make great strides in his game. As a defender, it is not always the scoresheet that collegiate coaches look to in order to determine worth. It can often be the “eye test” that draws a coach to a player.
Coach Walby isn’t worried about any of that. “Austin’s going to have a great season for us and draw attention from the schools we target.”