Atlanta youth hockey examiner caught up with Cal Mell with the 2001 Atlanta Fire Peewee youth hockey team. Cal has been skating almost since he could walk and progressed from house teams at the Alpharetta Ice Center (The Cooler) to AAA competition. Cal gained notice as a seven year old when he was selected to play with the 8 year old AAA Florida Squirt team that surprised the tournament by winning the One Hockey championship.
Cal played above his age by scoring a key goal that changed the momentum of the game and helped Team Florida comprised of several Georgia players win the cup. Cal skated in to the opposing goaltender on a 2 on 1 and positioned himself perfectly to take advantage of rebounds and scored the goal that seemed to ignite his teammates. Even then Cal displayed the hockey sense he is known for now. A straight ‘A’ student Cal has a goal to go to college after high school.
Examiner: When did you know that you really liked hockey?
Cal : When I was small (about 4 years old) the first time I went skating I really liked it and have been skating since then. It is fun.
Examiner: What is your favorite position on a team (forward, defense, center, and wing)?
Cal : I have played defense, wing and center and I like center best because it allows me help out defensively and to position myself to receive the puck and make passes to my team mates.
Examiner: What do you feel is the strongest parts of your game?
Cal : I think the strongest part of my game is my vision on the ice and my skating.
Examiner: Who are your favorite NHL players and why?
Cal : Steven Stamkos and Dany Heatley are my favorite players. Stamkos is a scoring center and Heatley was previously a Atlanta Thrasher-I like the way he plays.
Examiner: How often do you practice your shot?
Cal : I actually practice skating a lot. Steve Jacobs works with me and has improved my speed and stamina on the ice.
Examiner: Describe some of your biggest games that helped your team win?
Cal: We were losing 3-0 to a team from Niagara during the Nike-Bauer tournament when we were on the bench several of our team said we were going to lose the game. We came back to tie it with a great team effort and I was lucky enough to score the winning goal in overtime.
Examiner: Any other game you can think of?
Cal: We beat the Indie Junior Ice team 4-3 and I scored all 4 goals.
Examiner: Describe a game that disappointed you?
Cal : Every game we lose disappoints me.
Examiner: How many goals have you scored this season?
We don’t really keep track of individual goals.
Examiner: What would you like to do in the future related to hockey?
Cal: I want to finish school and maintain good grades. I would like to go to Boston College and play hockey there.
Examiner: One of your biggest goals was the one you scored in the AAA One Hockey tournament in Philly playing against older kids. How did you feel scoring that key goal that changed the momentum?
Cal: I don’t really remember it too well but I do remember going for the five hole.
Examiner: What is your team’s record so far this season?
Cal : We are 25-11-6 so far this season.
Examiner: What is it like to be coached by your dad and were you surprised avout any of his coaching tactics?
Cal: At home my dad is never mad. At the rink he seems mad a lot and I feel that he gets on me more if I make a poor play. Sometimes I feel he is tougher on me than my teammates.
Examiner: What specifically do you think you have learned from your dad as your coach?
Cal: He taught me how to keep my head and think while pressured.
Examiner: What is your favorite subject in school and why?
Cal: My favorite subject is math. It is the easiest to me because if you follow the formula you can always get the right answer.