2018 Was a Year to Remember for Maryland’s Mike Chen

Posted December 30, 2018

(Photo by Sarah Hobday)

Rockville, Md. native Mike Chen had a 2018 to remember. The 2017-18 season was his first professional season and on Feb. 19, the defenseman signed a contract with the South Carolina Stingrays, the ECHL affiliate of his favorite NHL team.

He was with the team for about a month, and during the month, he scored a power play goal from the Ovechkin spot. After his time with the Stingrays, he returned to the Knoxville Ice Bears of the SPHL.

This past spring started with one great memory and ended with another. He got engaged and then was able to join the rest of Caps nation watch the team win its first ever Stanley Cup.

Chen, 26, was driving to his fiancé’s house when Evgeny Kuznetsov scored the overtime game winning goal to move the Cpas past the hated  Penguins. “I had [the game] playing on my phone… I kinda celebrated in the car a little bit,” Chen said.  “It’s definitely something I thought I would never see happen in the near future, but, once they took [the Penguins] down, I thought ‘this is our year.'”

Chen went to a Stanley Cup Finals watch party of game being played in Vegas. He called the experience “pretty crazy.”

Then like many, he saw Lars Eller score the Stanley Cup winning goal and had trouble describing the moment.

“It was a pretty crazy mix of emotions,” he said. Adding it was a  “pretty surreal” moment. He caught the last two minutes at his fiancé’s house.

Chen was not able to go to the parade as he was to of town, but he got updates on his phone.

Two weeks later, Chen re-signed with the Stingrays, right where he wanted to be.

Chen, in his second professional year, and first full year with the Stingrays, is fitting in nicely. Despite being only 5′ 8″, Stingrays head coach Spiros Anastas said that Chen plays well above his size. Anastas also said that Chen has taken “great strides” in improving his game. This season Chen has two goals and three assists in 27 games with the Stingrays.

While it will be impossible to replicate all of the great off-ice events from the past calendar year, Chen has a chance to create some of his own magic on the ice. The Stingrays currently sit in third place in the South Division, 10 points behind the Florida Everblades. The Rays also sit in fifth place in the conference and ninth in the entire league.

Mike Chen, A Maryland Hockey Success