A 6’4 185 pound 2002-born goalie out of Mount Airy, Maryland, Tristan Mecenas is making the jump from Groton School to take on a major role for a rebuilding team in the 2019-2020 prep season. As a starter for Governors Academy with a full workload this coming season, Mecenas looks to make a big impression on college coaches. However, his development is something of a unique story.
“While I was born in Rockville, Maryland, I moved with my mom to Halifax, Nova Scotia when I was eight years old. I played for two very strong organizations there, the Halifax Hawks and the Nova Scotia Prospects. These teams provided me a foundation for making hockey my life.”
Hailing from a renowned hockey environment, it is no surprise that Mecenas was introduced to hockey at a young age. However, hockey was not part of the plan for Tristan growing up.
“I originally found my passion for hockey by starting figure skating. I tried to manage both for a while, but eventually I chose hockey and fell in love with playing goalie. I still love to go to public skates and work on my figure skating.”
Similarly to Tristan, many college and NHL players work with figure skating coaches in the offseason to improve their edgework and mobility. With Nova Scotia being a notorious hockey hotbed and home to NHL stars like Sydney Crosby and Nathan Mackinnon among others, the 3.75-star goaltender continues to train at the Goalie Academy in Virginia every summer. When asked about the unique qualities that a non-traditional hockey market like Maryland offers, Mecenas displayed his loyalty to the mid-Atlantic’s top athletic performance centers.
“Although the Maryland/Virginia area is not a traditional hockey market, I feel that I get top-notch goaltender training there.”
Prep school hockey in the US has remained a consistent pipeline to developing and showcasing the next wave of college and NHL players. In the 2019 NHL draft, there were 14 players drafted with prep school hockey experience. While many American born players follow this path to college hockey, Mecenas’ perception on which route to further his development took a turn once he moved to the US.
“When I lived in Canada, I always assumed I would play major junior. I was excited to do that. However, when I moved back to the US, I started to take an interest in prep hockey because it seemed like a logical path to benefit my development in the classroom and on the ice.”
At Groton in 2017-18, Mecenas started 20 games his first prep season, posting a solid 2.75 GAA and a .913 save percentage. He followed up that season with an even stronger 19 game campaign: a 2.01 GAA and a .935 save percentage, leading the Zebras to a 19-8-2 record. He is hoping for similar success this season with a new prep squad: Governors Academy.
When asked about the transition from Groton to Governors, Mecenas mentioned a recent coaching change in addition to the rebuild of Governors hockey.
“Govs is rebuilding their hockey program and I heard great things about their new coach. At my previous school, I was the starting goaltender but I really felt that being a starter at a school that is rebuilding is where I could make the biggest impact.”
In terms of off-ice intangibles, Mecenas describes himself as having strong leadership skills paired with a reliable work ethic. Just from a quick survey of the coaches who have worked directly with him, and coached him, we would certainly echo those sentiments. As a fully dedicated student-athlete, Mecenas prides himself on using his time efficiently away from the rink and the classroom, during which he’s squeezing in a few extra reps in the gym or practicing yoga.
And now we will find out if he can stretch his quality netminding into some D1 fanfare and offer letters. Given his successful stint this fall, we wouldn’t be surprised to see a commitment tweet soon to follow.