Washington Capitals’ goaltending prospect Mitchell Gibson was interviewed by Chris Campanale of Method Hockey on Tuesday night. Campanale, a former coach of Gibson’s, discussed Gibson’s goaltending career to date, including his youth hockey days in the Philadelphia area, his junior hockey days in Texas and Illinois, being drafted by the Washington Capitals, his first development camp with the Caps and his first year as starting netminder for the Harvard Crimson.
The interview with Method Hockey included 25+ kids who play youth hockey in the greater Philadelphia area, and was aimed at providing an educational resource for youth players.
Campanale opened the interview by tracing Gibson’s career to date, and concluded with questions from the youth players.
Youth and junior hockey days
The Phoenixville, Pennsylvania native began his youth hockey playing for the Valley Forge Colonials for six years, then the Valley Forge Minutemen during his freshman year in high school. Gibson then moved to Team Comcast in Pensauken his sophomore year of high school, and then to the Junior Flyers for two years, where he was drafted by the NAHL.
Junior Hockey Days
After graduating from high school, Gibson was set to play for the Sioux Falls Stampede of the USHL, but was cut from the team shortly after reporting. He would subsequently sign with the Lone Star Brahmas of the NAHL for the 2017-2018 season, where he had an excellent season, going 26-7-5-4, with a 1.59 GAA and a .935 save percentage in 43 games played.
Gibson also won a slew of awards that season, including: NAHL (South) Goaltender of the Year, NAHL (South) Most Valuable Player, NAHL All-NAHL Team, NAHL All-Rookie First Team, NAHL All-South Division Rookie Team, NAHL All-South Division Team, NAHL Goaltender of the Year, NAHL Rookie of the Year. Gibson noted in the interview that junior hockey was where things get serious, as far as hockey being a business.
The 2018-2019 season did not go well with the Central Illinois Flying Aces. Gibson mentioned that he believed at one point he lost nine consecutive starts. He finished the season with a 3.50 GAA and a .890 save percentage in 43 games played.
Being drafted by the Capitals and attending his first Capitals development camp
Gibson was drafted in the fourth round (#124 overall) of the 2018 NHL Entry Draft, held in Dallas, Texas. Gibson half-jokingly recalled that he blacked-out after hearing his named called in Dallas.
After making it to the stage to shake the hands with Capitals brass and pose for a few photos, he was whisked downstairs for photos and his first meeting with 20-30 members of the media.
An hour after the draft, Gibson was looking at flights home in time to make the start of Capitals development camp, which started on Tuesday. Gibson returned to Pennsylvania, packed his gear and within two hours was on his way down to DC.
Gibson said his first development camp was busy, but exciting. He noted that he got dressed each morning next to the Stanley Cup, which was sitting in the Capitals practice room for a good part of the week.
Gibson also noted that he was excited to work with Mitch Korn, having previously attended Korn camps as a youth player. Gibson was also impressed with the Capitals facility at MedStar.
Freshman season with Harvard
Campanale then asked about Gibson’s first year playing college hockey at Harvard. After a down year with the Central Illinois Aces, Gibson felt his confidence was a bit shaken, but he told himself he would work harder during the offseason leading into his first year with the Crimson. He felt he was ready for the season.
Gibson finished the 2019-2020 regular season with a record of 9-8-3 with a 2.66 Goals-Against Average and a .917 Save Percentage. He ended the regular season ranked 42nd in the NCAA in GAA and ranked 26th in the NCAA in Save Percentage.
Questions from youth hockey players
The interview then turned to the kids, as they asked a wide range of questions. Gibson, now 20-years-old, was asked about the offers he received from colleges, if he met Ovi, could he play for the Hershey Bears and is he committed to graduating from Harvard. (His father quickly yelled in from the other room, “YES!”).
By Jon Sorensen