Cal Mell Named NAHL Defenseman of the Month

Dec 2, 2021

By Calvin Bush (@calvin_bush24) | Dec 2, 2021 | 3:40 pm

JANESVILLE, WI — The North American Hockey League announced their monthly awards on Wednesday afternoon, all of which included players in the running from the Jets squad. One player, in particular, finished at the top to receive the highest honor in earning an award, which was defenseman Cal Mell, who took home Bauer Defenseman of the Month.

“It’s a great honor to be named Defenseman of the Month and to get that recognition,” Mell said. “You look at the numbers, and it was all assists from me, so the guys around me have been crucial in helping out and making the entire team successful, so a lot of credit goes to them, too.”

Mell, who was recently named the captain of the Jets for the 2021-22 season, registered ten assists in nine games in November to help the Jets to a 7-2 record, including a three-game-series win in Fairbanks against the division-leading Ice Dogs. The two wins to round out the series helped kickstart an eventual six-game winning streak. In his nine games played in November, the Cumming, Georgia native found the scoresheet in all but three games, highlighted by a three-assist outing in a 5-2 win over the Minnesota Wilderness on the 12th.

“Cal has come incredibly far in this past year and a half, both in Janesville and in the NAHL, and we’re very proud of the accomplishments he’s compiled and the game that he continues to play,” said head coach Parker Burgess. “He [Cal] would be the first to give a ton of credit to his teammates, and that’s the type of person and type of leader he is. He’s a gritty player that gives it his all on the ice every single game, and it’s paying off for him now, and we love to see that.”

Cal Mell’s ten assists were the highest among defensemen in the league in November. (Shelley Schmidt Photography)

Mell has played all 23 games of the season thus far and has accumulated 14 points, all assists, and a +11 rating. Despite being banged up for several games this year, Mell still has given his all to support the team and help find the win column for Janesville. “What’s greatly impressive is that Cal comes to the rink every day with a positive mindset and attitude, and he does it regardless of how he’s feeling,” said Burgess. “Even with being bruised and beat up because of his hard game and high ice time, we know that he’ll continue to show up with that same great character that we see from him every day, and that’s something that’s propelled him to where he is now. I have no doubt that a Division I commitment will be soon to follow.”

Mell rounded out his successful month of November with a three-point weekend against the Minnesota Magicians and finished with a +4 in the weekend sweep. The defenseman has four multi-point games to his name this year and has an average time on ice of 22:42.

After a 1-7 finish in October, the Jets pulled a complete 180° and went 7-2 in November, but Mell said that not much changed when it came to turning things around. “We stuck with our habits and details, and we tried to emphasize our work ethic, all things we knew were strong components of our game. We’ve just found different ways to be productive, score goals, and play at a high level, and we’ve got a lot of confidence in our game right now.”

The Jets have a stretch of competitive matchups, starting with the Springfield Jr. Blues this week, followed by the Fairbanks Ice Dogs and a three-game series against the Anchorage Wolverines that will carry into the New Year.

Cal Mell’s honors continue the stretch of high recognition received by the league after forward Cy LeClerc earned Star of the Week in the first week of November, who also finished as the runner-up in votes for Forward of the Month. Goaltender Owen Millward was an honorable mention for Goaltender of the Month.

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