By Tom Pepper
After playing three seasons as a defenceman for the Ryerson Rams men’s hockey team, Andrew Mullen is taking his talents to the National Lacrosse League (NLL). The Toronto native signed a two-year contract with the New England Black Wolves on Oct. 23.
Despite spending his last few years primarily on the ice, Mullen is making the shift to lacrosse.
Mullen formerly played for the Toronto Beaches in the Ontario Junior A Lacrosse League and was a recruit of the Virginia Cavaliers men’s lacrosse team in NCAA Division 1. He gives credit to the Rams’ hockey program for helping him reach his goal of playing in the world’s only professional box lacrosse league.
“Ryerson gave me the tools to be physically prepared and taught me time management,” said Mullen.
Previously drafted 56th overall by the Black Wolves in the 2016 NLL Entry Draft, Mullen ultimately chose to play university hockey and pursue his bachelor’s degree in biomedical engineering at Ryerson before signing with the team.
“If you want to accomplish anything, you have to go out and get it. No one’s going to hand it to you”
He says that his multi-sport abilities will help make the transition from Ontario University Athletics (OUA) hockey to professional lacrosse easier.
“I would say my versatility comes from playing both sports my whole life,” said Mullen. “I feel like my individual role while playing fits into the wider team game plan.”
Rams head coach Johnny Duco would often utilize the natural defenceman as a forward when the team needed extra support up front.
After 36 regular-season games and seven postseason contests, Mullen is calling it a career in the OUA. The majority of his playing time came in his final season with the Rams, suiting up for a career-high 23 games in the 2019-20 season and contributing two assists in the team’s five-game playoff run.
The NLL is hoping to begin its 35th anniversary season in April 2021. The Black Wolves finished the 2020 season ranked first in the league and will be carrying a strong roster into next season. Mullen is expected to face some tough competition to land himself a spot in the starting lineup, but the work ethic and adaptability he displayed as a member of the Rams is likely to help him in his newfound professional lacrosse career.
“If you want to accomplish anything, you have to go out and get it. No one’s going to hand it to you,” said Mullen.