This week I sat down with senior hockey captain Brad Mueller. Brad has been a hockey standout since arriving at Lawrence. Upon finishing his final season as a Viking, Brad reflects on an incredible career with the team.
Arianna Cohen: You scored your first game winning goal in overtime against Northland last weekend. When it’s tie game and limited time is left, what goes through your mind? What was your mentality before you scored?
Brad Mueller: The Northland game was a bit different than a typical overtime scenario in that we had to win the game to remain in playoff contention: a tie would have done us no good. Being in a must win situation with less than 5 minutes remaining, the mindset is pretty much that we get as many pucks on net as possible until one finds its way across the goal line.
AC: The time commitment for hockey is unlike any other varsity sport. How do you manage this with being a full time student?
BM: There is an adjustment period when you first get to Lawrence, but once you get a feel for the schedule, specifically morning practices, it’s great for developing time management techniques. The biggest challenge would be when travel forces us to miss class, which happens quite frequently. Professors are always understanding so long as you are proactive about notifying them and staying on top of assignments. To answer the question, it’s all about making the most of free time early in the week so that when the weekend rolls around focus can be shifted to hockey.
AC: At the start of the season, you had some problems with concussions. What was it like coming back after that, and how long did it take you to be back to full strength?
BM: I had not had much experience with head injuries in the past so suffering a concussion was a new obstacle for me. Thankfully it came at a time where we had a bye week, so I only had to miss one weekend and had plenty of time to allow myself to heal and regain confidence in practice. This was another situation where professors were very understanding of the situation and made accommodations so that I could allow my injury to heal without falling behind in class.
AC: Of the six seniors on your team, you were named captain by your coach. How did you prepare yourself for this role?
BM: The best advice I received form former captains, coaches and teammates was to continue doing the same things as always. So, I really didn’t do anything differently, just prepared physically and made sure to have open communication with the other captains, teammates, and coaches.
AC: This being your final season, what are your feelings as the season comes to a close?
BM: It’s a bittersweet feeling for sure, I am extremely proud to have represented Lawrence University in competition. Being a part of our Hockey program is an honor that lasts a lifetime, but knowing I have made my final on ice contributions is strange. The amount of dedication required to reach and succeed at this level of hockey is enormous. The opportunity to apply that effort to other endeavors is exciting and I know that this senior class is poised for great things in the future.
AC: What is your favorite memory from your time on the hockey team?
BM: It’s impossible to pick out just one moment—we have had so many big wins and positive experiences. The stuff that will stick with me the most are the day-to-day things like waking up at 4:45AM for practice, hanging out in the locker room shooting the breeze and cracking jokes on bus trips to places like Hancock, Mich. and Ashland, Wisc.