Former Hershey Bears forward Graham Mink joined the Providence Bruins following the resolution of the NHL lockout, finally finding a new AHL team after Hershey decided not to bring him back after his three seasons (all separate) with the Chocolate and White.
Mink posted 42 points in 48 games for Hershey last season and has contributed 16 points in 28 games for the Providence Bruins this season.
He came back on Saturday night and faced his former team for the first of two times this season, as the Providence Bruins fell to Hershey 3-2. He reflected on his time with the Bears and what the future holds for himself and the Bruins.
Q: On coming back and playing at Giant Center.
Mink: “It’s great, I always get so excited to play here visiting team or home team it’s just a great atmosphere to be a part of. It was a really good game, very competitive and they just got the better of us in the third period.”
Q: On changing his jersey to number 29.
Mink: “I came in [to Providence] half way through the season and didn’t want to upset the apple cart. Bobby Robins has been around for a long team, does a great job. He had it so they gave me 29.”
Q: On Providence’s season as they head toward the playoffs.
Mink: “Things have been going good the last couple months; we’re starting to really find our game. We’ve been winning a lot of games and every night it seems like we’re in it. I think we can do well. Our strength is on the backend and we’ve got some big forwards that like to skate. I really think we can do some damage, but you never know. Every team’s so competitive up and down, still got the NHL trade deadline coming. That can change a lot for teams, once we got through that hurdle and guys stay healthy I think we can do some damage in the playoffs.”
Q: On facing former teammates this season.
Mink: “It’s good to see a lot of guys. Anytime you’re playing on a championship team it adds years to your career, it’s some of the things that I’m trying to preach to these guys. You’ve got that special bond with those players every time you see them, you can smile and just say we did together at one point.”
Q: On playing in the Bruins organization.
Mink: “It’s been great; they’ve really been first class to me. They treat the team very well, I’m just very thankful for the opportunity to play hockey instead of selling insurance. I got the call on a Friday night and they asked me if I could play. I said sure, when? And they said how about tomorrow night at Springfield, so I packed up my bag got in the car with my dad and drove down and played a game. It’s been hockey ever since.”
Q: On mentality during the NHL lockout and not playing hockey.
Mink: “Just try to stay positive, I like to think of myself as a positive person. There were a lot of guys in my situation, I was just trying to just stay in shape and not give up on it. I knew once it go to October, November I knew it was going to wait till the end of the lockout, till I signed. When it ended I really ramped up my conditioning and tried to get my head around it. Luckily a spot opened up and an opportunity, here I am.”