Moose forward Jeff Malott has quickly made a name for himself in the American Hockey League.
The former Cornell captain has eight points in 12 games so far in this his first season — moving his way up to the top line by displaying offensive talent while also bringing a defensive mindset to his new team.
The experience and leadership role Malott had in college has played into his success on the ice and the coaching staff has noticed his professional attitude having a great impact on the team.
“We’re 13 games into the season you saw he was one, (a captain in college), just by the way he carries himself, the way he talks, the way he knows peoples name around the rink,” said assistant coach Richard Bue, by Zoom this week. “And I think that translates on to the ice.”
Malott, a Burlington native, posted 13 points in 29 games last season for the Cornell Red and was named one of three finalists for the ECAC Best Defensive Forward. His team was primed to make a run for the Frozen Four championship before the NCAA was forced to shut down all sports due to Covid-19.
He remembers his time spent with the university fondly despite his senior season getting cut short due to the pandemic, as he developed his skills and grew as an individual over his college career, setting him up for his transition to the Moose.
“The four years at Cornell were probably the coolest years of my life, I’m extremely grateful for the coaching staff there, the community support and what they provided for us,” said Malott, over the phone.
“It was tough the way everything ended. We were No. 1 in the country going into the playoffs, and we were all looking at each other like we might be able to do something pretty special.”
Malott had a chance to get his legs under him for the Florida Everblades, of the ECHL, in January prior to coming up to Winnipeg.
“I had a great time and it was a great opportunity in Florida, they run a really professional program and it was a great place to be before coming into Manitoba.
“A huge thing about being able to play a couple professional games was getting up to speed with decision making and being under pressure, because as much as you skate in the summer and do skill work there’s no replacing somebody forechecking or body checking, you under pressure.”
The left winger hopes to continue his hot streak, (four goals and an assist in last four games) this Saturday as his team tries to salvage some points in a four-game series with the first place Stockton Heat, having dropped the first three of the set, each by a goal.