Introducing 2000-born forward Sullivan Mack, a native of Anchorage, Alaska. He is currently a senior at Kimball Union Academy, where he is trying to add another championship to his resume. It is not often that you find Alaska natives playing at a prep school in New Hampshire, but it shouldn’t come as a surprise that his hockey journey began early in life.
“My dad played college hockey so he got me started when I was pretty young. I really liked just skating out on the pond, so when I was old enough my parents signed me up for hockey.”
Since Sullivan grew up in the state known as The Last Frontier, we had to ask him who his favorite Alaskan born player is, and who he models his game after.
“I always thought Scott Gomez was a great player but I never really modeled my game after any Alaskan players.”
He began playing club hockey at a young age in Alaska, as there are no youth town organizations. This is where he began learning and developing his skill, as well as his passion for the game.
“There is only club hockey in Alaska. Once you reach midget in Alaska, all of the teams take a break in the middle of the season for high school hockey. I grew up playing for a couple of different club teams and then played for my high school once I got there.”
Once he got to West Anchorage High School, he made an impact right away scoring 32 points in 26 games. Here is where he first played under the bright lights, ultimately winning the state championship.
“I went to West Anchorage High School and it was an unreal experience. A lot of people would come out for big games and we won state my freshman year, so playing in the state championship game was wild.”
His second year at West Anchorage High was a different story. He still managed to put good numbers on the board; in fact, more points in fewer games with 33 in 19 games played, but the team did not make it as far as the year before. Despite the team record, Sullivan
was given a leadership role which is especially valuable for a young player.
“It was a good year for me because I was an assistant captain and even though I was only a sophomore, I had a leadership role.”
Fast forward to his first year at Kimball Union Academy. He was a repeat sophomore, moving across the country for the first time. This change would not be an easy one, but at the end of the day it really helped him develop as a player.
“Yeah I think it is definitely a more skilled game in New England. I also feel like there is a lot more emphasis on playing fast here.”
Sullivan finished that season with 11 points in 36 games. Despite not having huge numbers, that season did a lot for him. It helped him adjust to the New England style of play. It also helped his confidence grow, as he realized that he could play at that level.
“[The transition to prep school hockey] was a little bit difficult. I was pretty small and I wasn’t sure if I would be on varsity or not. And the level of play was much higher so it was a little intimidating at first. But once the prep season started it wasn’t bad at all, and it ended up being a great year for me.”
Looking at his numbers from his second year at Kimball Union, it is evident that he developed a lot from the previous year. Sullivan played in 37 games and he wound up with over a point per game with 47 points. His confidence was growing not only in himself but with his teammates
and coaching staff.
“I think I was being put in a situation where I could succeed. I got a lot of time on the penalty kill, and I was able to play with some great players like [Edmonton Oilers draft pick] Tomas Mazura and Zach Whitehead.
Not only did his role change on the ice from his first season at Kimball Union to his second, but as a leader as well.
“I think I became more vocal in the locker room and on the ice. Additionally, I was providing more offensively for the team so I felt like I was able to play a much bigger role in my second season.”
We all know the success that Kimball Union has had over the past few years, winning three prep school championships in a row. Will they be able to keep up their dominance? Sullivan seems to think that things will go well for them in 2019-20.
“I think we have a good team. We’re a little younger than we have been before but we’ve got a lot of skill and our goalies are really good so it should be a great year.”
We’ve noted Sullivan’s improved play at Neutral Zone both during last year’s Flood Marr: He’s got speed, he can fly down the walls on zone entries, make a quick move around a defender and get to the goal. He has a quick, powerful release and is able to make moves and toe-drag at full speed. He has a potent wrist shot, he can skate through checks and take hits despite his size and showed a nifty, slick stick in small areas, particularly in the corners. He can be an energy, F1 forechecker or penalty killer or he can be a quick, skilled, elusive forward.
So what is up next for Sullivan after high school? Only time will tell. But like any player who has ever laced them up, he dreams of making it to the next level and playing college hockey. No matter where he ends up, he already has an impressive resume to his name; one Alaskan state championship, and two Elite 8 championships. We will be watching him closely during his senior season at Kimball Union, where he will be looking to add another championship to his resume.