Allowing him to have a strong impact as the season progressed was his ability to trust his line mates. While he was a star in high school hockey, it took Mitchell time to transition to an environment where he simply had to do his job, and nothing further.
“It’s not a knock on him,” Silva said. “It’s rather the nature of the beast of high school hockey in Massachusetts. It’s so watered down. Ian probably was the guy who was the main player so he was all over the ice. It took him a while to realize he didn’t have to do everything himself and to trust his line mates. Once he did that, he slowed down and played within himself.”
While Silva is glad Mitchell chose to attend college rather than play on a junior team, he oftentimes wonders what Ian could have become if he had taken the other route.
“We think Ian would have been a high Division III prospect or a low Division I prospect if he had played junior hockey,” Silva said. “His skating and vision are very strong. He just has to put on some muscle. He’s still just 18-years-old.”
Because of the level of intensity that comes with a collegiate hockey program, Silva prefers to have his athletes dedicate their time in sports solely to hockey.
“Hockey has to be your first sport choice, so if you want to play lacrosse or another sport, we likely wouldn’t keep you on the team because its a season-long commitment,” he said. “We don’t end until late February or early March. It would interfere with other sports.”
It was likely this train of thought that kept Mitchell from informing his coach of his plans to run varsity outdoor track until the last week of the season. While it would be difficult for most, Mitchell has already proven to be an exception.