Photos: Brian Jenkins; John Howe/Howe Creative; St. Cloud State Athletic Media Relations
The Quad City Mallards today announced they have re-signed team captain Darren McMillan and have also signed rookies Caylen Walls and Joey Holka.
McMillan, a 34-year old defenseman, has served as the Mallards’ captain each of the last four seasons. Last year saw the Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, native score three times and total 16 points while posting a plus/minus rating of +6 in 65 games to help the Mallards to the club’s first semi-final appearance in 11 years.
“Darren has proven many times over he’s a guy we can count on to get the job done on the ice and also play an important role in the locker room,” said Mallards head coach and general manager Terry Ruskowski. “We’re excited to have him back this year to help us build on what we were able to accomplish last season.”
McMillan has played in all but three of the Mallards’ 264 regular season games over the last four campaigns. In total, he has produced 16 goals and 77 points in 273 games for the franchise, for whom he first played early in the 2009-10 season when he picked up three assists while skating in a dozen games. The 6’ 0”, 209-pound McMillan’s first full season in the Quad Cities was 2010-11, a campaign during which the blue liner scored four goals, notched 21 points and represented the Mallards in the CHL All-Star Game. The following season, McMillan scored three times and collected 34 points while finishing tied for fourth in the CHL in plus/minus rating (+24).
Over his nine-year professional career, McMillan has scored 35 goals and collected 190 points In 541 games. He broke into pro hockey with the CHL’s Wichita Thunder, for whom played in both 2005-06 and 2006-07. In 2007-08, McMillan made the move to Germany with Klostersee EHC, who he would rejoin for the bulk of the 2009-10 season. In 2008-09 McMillan skated in 73 games and recorded one goal and ten points while helping the Ontario (California) Reign to the ECHL’s Pacific Division title.
Before stepping into the pro ranks, McMillan played for St. Francis Xavier University in Antigonish, Nova Scotia for four seasons. He won the Atlantic University Sport conference title with StFX in 2003-04. In the junior ranks, he suited up for the Erie Otters of the Ontario Hockey League for three seasons from 1998-2001. McMillan and the Otters won back-to-back OHL Midwest Division championships in 1999-2000 and 2000-01 and also finished the regular season first overall in the OHL in 2000-01.
Walls, a 22-year old defenseman, turns pro with the Mallards after picking up one assist in 26 games as a sophomore at the University of Vermont last season. The 6’ 1”, 200-pound Lyalta, Alberta, native scored twice and added six assists while piling up 110 penalty minutes in 60 games over his two years as a Catamount.
“Walls has good size and is a real hard hitting defenseman who can also move the puck,” said Ruskowski. “He likes to hit and he hits hard. Getting a physical defenseman like him is a big benefit for us.”
Walls arrived at UVM after spending three-plus seasons in the Canadian junior A ranks with the Drumheller Dragons, Grande Prairie Storm and Okotoks Oilers of the Alberta Junior Hockey League and the Westside Warriors of the British Columbia Hockey League. While skating for Grande Prairie in 2010-11, Walls finished eighth in the AJHL with 193 penalty minutes.
Holka, a 24-year old forward, joins the Mallards after three seasons at St. Cloud State. The 6’ 3”, 190-pound Holka last year scored one goal and added an assist in 14 games.
“Holka is a good skater who’s strong on the boards and strong on the puck and who can take the puck to the net,” said Ruskowski. “He’s a hard working kid who does his job and can contribute offensively when he’s given the opportunity.”
Holka scored six goals and registered 14 points in 80 career collegiate games. Holka and the Huskies won regular season conference titles each of the last two seasons and also reached the NCAA tournament each of the last two years, advancing to the Frozen Four in 2013. The Phoenix native spent three seasons north of the border with the BCHL’s Penticton Vees before heading to St. Cloud.
2014-15 Mallards season tickets are now on sale. Ticket packages are available to meet almost any budget. A limited edition season ticket holder Mallard jersey, 12 additional ticket vouchers per seat and free parking are among a host of exclusive benefits available to season ticket holders. For more season ticket information fans can call the Mallards’ business office at 309-277-1364.