At first glance, it might be hard to guess that Garrett Mitchell, at 5-11, 195 pounds, has held his own in dustups with most of the Western Hockey League’s toughest players, or that he racked up 140 penalty minutes this past season with his hometown Regina Pats.
Mitchell scored his second goal of the week in the third period of Thursday morning’s scrimmage but not before dropping the gloves against free agent invitee Scott Wietecha (6-1, 201). Mitchell was flipped onto the ice by his larger opponent but was no worse for wear when referees broke the pair up.
“I don’t know if it’s stupidity or what, but I think that’s part of just who I am as a person and as a teammate,” Mitchell said on Wednesday. “It’s the best feeling in the world when you know somebody’s got your back. It’s not about going out and beating the toughest guy but showing that you have a commitment to take care of your team, to go do something.”
Mitchell will turn pro this fall and will vie for a spot on the Hershey Bears’ roster, likely as a third- or fourth-line winger. In addition to the energy and personality he brings to a lineup, Mitchell can contribute offense as well. He recorded 18 goals and 52 points with the Pats in 2010-11.
“I think he definitely has some offensive skill and you don’t want to peg-hole a guy when he’s still going to develop,” Bears Coach Mark French said. “But he’s a guy that when you look at most guys who are his size, they are more skilled, finesse players. He relies on being very aggressive, in your face, and he’s done quite well.”
Comfortable at KCI this week in his third appearance at development camp, Mitchell recorded a goal in the first scrimmage on Wednesday in Team A’s losing effort. As he prepares to jump from the WHL into the professional ranks, Mitchell emphasized that while he wants to continue developing, he’s learned to stick to what has made him successful up to this point.
“I’m my best when I keep things simple,” Mitchell said. “I’m an energy player and I like to be an in-your-face type of player, so it’s kind of when I try to do too much and get away from my game that’s kind of when things start to fall apart for me. So I don’t think I’ll try to change a whole lot from what got me here.”