By Todd Travis
For Southside resident Jenny Mullen, it has always been eat, sleep and breathe hockey for as long as she can remember. Ironically, she never played the sport in any organized form. But when you’re in a hockey family, you’re along for the ride whether you’re on the ice or watching from the stands.
“I play knee hockey with my brother in the kitchen and that’s about it,” Mullen said with a laugh.
A passion for generations
Her father Mike Mullen and his friend Mark Nicholson had been playing hockey together since they were 17 years old. Their sons Zac Mullen and Chris Nicholson also played together growing up. Now their grandsons Joey Mullen (Jenny’s son) and Braden Paderick are playing together. Jenny’s younger son and Mark’s granddaughter Mackenzie have also recently started playing together more recently.
“I go down the hockey black hole in September. My friends ask me if I’m still alive in December and I come back out in March. It’s been like that my whole life,” Mullen described.
One of the shining moments for the Mullen family is the year the South Stars, led by Zac Mullen, won the state championship in 1993.
“This team was special because just two years prior, they were the laughingstock of the whole state. They made rules because we were getting beat so bad that if the other team scored more than 10 goals, they’d run the clock. So it was really great to come back in ’93 and win the championship,” recalled Mike Mullen.
A 30-year reunion
On Dec. 3, they celebrated 30 years since that iconic season. They invited all players from all years, as well as their friends and family members, to remember that iconic season and gather together around long-standing friendships that developed from their involvement with the South Stars hockey team.
The celebration was a 90’s throwback theme that included music from the 90s, throwback jersey’s, and, of course, hockey games. The first game was the JV team playing Bloomington at 6:30 p.m., which was followed by a tribute to the 1993 championship team. After that, the varsity team played Hamilton Southeastern at 8:30 p.m. There were also couple other surprises planned for those in attendance.
“We are going to be wearing replica throwback jerseys from the ’93 team. There’s a big joke with that team – they call their jersey ‘The Patch.’ It’s an awful looking jersey that just has a patch sewn on that said South Stars on it. So the guys always joke about it, and I thought it would be fun to see the current South Stars in a replica of their old jersey,” Mullen described.
“During the ceremony in between the games, we’re going to bring the guys out and share some stats with the current players. We had three guys that scored 50+ points that season. Not to brag, but my brother was one of them – and he led the team in penalty minutes too. But it’s going to be cool for our kids to hear how special this team was, and they really were special,” Mullen added.
Remembering a friend and teammate
Another commemoration included on this night will be for a former player, Joffre LeFevre, who passed away in 2020. Because of Covid restrictions, the family wasn’t able to get together when it happened, so they got together earlier this summer for a memorial service. Around that time, they heard there had been a banner put up at Perry Park for that team and they wanted to all see the banner. That’s when Mike Mullen had the idea to hold this event. Joffre’s dad Jaques was the head coach for the ’93 championship team. In between the games, Joffre will also be recognized and remembered.
“I think hockey is so small in Indiana that when you start playing hockey, these people really become your family and become lifelong friends. Some really cool things have come out of this team,” Mullen concluded.
For info about the event visit: facebook.com/events/1824122967923308/?active_tab=about