Mead native, Colorado high school hockey alum Brooker re-ups with USPHL’s Mullets for 2021-22 season
This time last year, Matthew Brooker ventured away from his Mead home to play his rookie season of junior hockey for the USPHL’s Minnesota Mullets.
Brooker was one of the younger players with the Mullets, but still developed his game in leaps and bounds over the course of 2020-21.
“After the growth I made last season and talking with Coach (Chris) Walby, we agreed it would be a great place to play next year,” said Brooker. “The league’s ability to move players in from junior to college and even to Tier II impresses me and the Mullets support that having moved on many players not only to the next level but to a place they like.
“I know that with a team and league that takes pride in moving players on to where they want to be is exactly what I looked for when I found the Mullets and know this is the best place for me.”
Walby is elated to have the 2003-born Brooker back in the lineup this season.
“He had an awesome season, especially for a 16-year-old in a very talented division,” said Walby. “He ended up breaking his collarbone but was well on his way to establishing himself as a ‘regular shift’ type of player. We turned him into a forward for parts of the season in order to use him in as many situations as we could at his age. I’m very excited to have him back.”
Brooker noted that he didn’t start playing hockey until high school.
“What really got me interested was no one I knew played it, so it was just fun to make new friends and find something to would challenge me,” said Brooker. “Before playing away from home (with the Springfield Jr. Pics’ 16U team in 2019-20), I played for Longmont, Boulder Bison and HPHL spring league. Some coaches who have been positive influence for me are Jason Bain, Martin Valdez and Mark Walker.”
Now signed for the upcoming season, Brooker can’t wait to get started in Minnesota.
“I’ve had the most fun wearing the Mullets jersey,” he said. “It’s so much fun being with the squad and learning together and playing together.”
Looking down the line, Brooker has reachable dreams he intends to pursue.
“My short-term goals in both hockey and school are to always be better than last year and keep working hard, get some basic classes in,” Brooker said. “And long term, I want to play as far as I can, in college and beyond, and I’d like to find a school to study business law.”
— Matt Mackinder
(September 2, 2021)