ECHL: Reading Royals: A Talk With Mason Millman

Photo Credit: Sarah Pietrowski/Reading Royals

From being drafted to learning how to be a pro, it has been a whirlwind of a few years for Reading Royals Defenseman Mason Millman.

Record Breaking

Not only has Millman surpassed 100 professional points, but he has surpassed Wall of Honor Inductee Nick Luukko for leading Defenseman in Points in Reading Royals History.

“It’s definitely a special thing. Anywhere you go, anywhere you play. To hold a record for a team, it’s a special thing. It’s something where it can’t be done alone. I’ve been very fortunate over the last couple of years to play with some very, very high end players who have made my life very easy. A lot of the guys I’ve been fortunate to play with, they’ve kind of just taken me and I’ve learned from them. It’s been fun doing it here and in front of these fans and in the Royals logo.”

Friendship Circle

In Millman’s career throughout Juniors, he has played with some popular names such as Owen Tippett and Blade Jenkins. He speaks on what it was like playing with both of them and what he learned from them.

“It was very cool. Those guys, just watching them, in and out of the rink everyday. That’s where I kind of learned how to take that step of moving towards the pro level. Seeing somebody like Tip, now that he’s here in Philly. He was a guy who showed up to the rink every day. For people that know Tip, he is a quiet guy, but once you get to know him, he kind of opens up. He showed me how to be in and out everyday and be a pro. Before games, after games, how to take care of yourself, what you do, the way he works off the ice. He was 19 years old and one of the top players in the league. He was always the last one on the ice in practice in the OHL, so to see where he is now, isn’t much of a surprise. Jenks is another one where he is a workhorse. He is someone who always looked out for other guys and always had the best interests for other guys.”

Draft Night

Getting drafted is a privilege that few get to experience. Millman was one of the lucky few that was able to be drafted by Philadelphia and spoke on the night leading up to his name being called.

“It was a fun weekend. I’ve always been kind of an underdog story. I wasn’t sure if I was gonna drafted or not. Fortunate enough, one of my best friends, Ryan Suzuki, was pretty slotted in for the first round. We got to go out to Vancouver, and the first night was all about him, and I sat with him and his family. That was a pretty special to see something like that happen for him. You know someone that you’ve grown up with your whole life, work so hard. The next day came around, my family is down with us and you’re just sitting there and all of a sudden, you hear your name called, and it’s a surreal feeling. I tell everyone, you will never feel something like that. Ever since your a little kid, you dream, you are up late watching TV, watching games, watching your favorite players, and to have that moment where everything you worked for the last 17-18 years, pay off, is surreal and pretty cool. I was very fortunate Philly is such an old, old franchise and they have so much history behind them and such a great place to play. I have loved the last 3 to 4 years here, it has been amazing. Some of the people i have met along the way have been so nice to me and so welcoming.”

Game Day

Most players have a game day routine, some do not. Game day is sacred to players, and getting a look into what Millman does to get himself in the game mindset.

“I’m not overly superstitious. I don’t really do anything crazy. I live with Paliani and Maier. I usually go get like a smoothie bowl or something like that after morning skate. Go home, hang out for a bit, have a nap, wake up, eat some sort of meal. I’m not very picky on having the same thing every day. When I come into the rink, I get a coffee and just tape my sticks, play a little sewerball, stretch out. Nothing too crazy, nothing too superstitious.”

Hard To Defend

Defenseman’s main job is to protect the back end and the goaltender. Millman speaks on who the hardest player in his career has been to defend, and it comes with a pretty popular name.

“In my career overall, one that sticks out to me, and I can’t believe I’m saying this, in the OHL, would be Morgan Frost. I played against Frosty for a couple of years. Him and I always used to go at it. Since I’ve met him, we are good friends, we hang out all of the time. In juniors, he was one of the hardest players to ever defend. He was just so fast. He is so skilled in the way he plays now, is the way he played in juniors. He is such a talented kid and player. He is somebody you have to respect every time he is on the ice.”

Defense Partner

Being a defenseman, a player works in pairs. Millman has often been on the first line this season, and has proven he can produce there. Millman speaks on who he would want to be his defense partner.

“I’m not the biggest, thickest guy so I tend to go with guys who are gonna save me sometimes. So my answer is always like Chara, someone who I know is gonna protect me and save me when I need it. Those guys who are big and strong and legitimate NHL players that have cemented themselves in history as some of the best defensive players out there.”

3 on 3

3 on 3 overtime lineup, every player has their dream line. Millman speaks on his dream line.

“With me included, On the back end, I feel you have to take McDavid with speed and either MacKinnon or Makar. Two explosive, talented players.”

Separating From Hockey

Separating from hockey is essential for every player. Being able to separate from the ice and have other hobbies helps the on ice game as well. Millman speaks on what he does to separate his mind from the game.

“Golf is a big one for me. I really enjoy golfing. Not necessarily the best at it but it’s something fun where you can get outside, get some sunlight, hanging out with your buddies. Not worry about hockey. We watch other stuff, me, Maier, and Pali will watch some shows at home. Just and do some stuff like mini golf, just different stuff where we can kind of just separate ourselves and still have that competition because we can never let that part go.”

Idol Time

In every player’s life, there is always a player, or players, that they look up to or try to model their game after. Millman speaks on who he has looked up to watching games growing up.

“Growing up, I always said Shane Gostisbehere, ironically. That was always my kind of guy. Kind of a mid sized, solid, two-way defenseman. He is somebody who moves the puck really well, but he defends hard as well. He is such a smooth, elite skater. So for me, watching him growing up, was something I tried to replicate myself after.”

Off-Season Training

Players have off-season training that they complete. This helps to strengthen their game and work on their weaknesses for the next upcoming season. Millman speaks on his off-season training.

“The last few years, I have trained in Voorhees, but back home on a normal day, I’ll wake up at 8:00 am, make some breakfast, go down to the training facility that we have in London. Probably at 20 minute warm-up in the morning. Then an hour and half workout, 30 minutes later we are on the ice for another hour and half. Rest of the day is kind of mine to do what I want.”

This season, Millman has played in 39 games for the Royals. He has tallied 7 goals with 18 assists.

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