April 5, 2013 was a pivotal day in Scott Mayfield’s life. That Friday, a year-and-a-half ago the Islanders’ 2011 second-round pick signed an entry-level contract with the organization, opting to leave the University of Denver to go pro.
Mayfield played the final six games of the season for the Bridgeport Sound Tigers and completed his first full year with the Sound Tigers last season, scoring 18 points (3G, 15A) in 71 games before earning a callup to the Islanders.
It’s tough to turn down a call from an NHL team, but leaving school isn’t an easy choice either. Mayfield has enrolled in online classes and is still working towards a degree, while also working towards a spot in the NHL.
Now, the St. Louis, MO, native is gearing up for the Islanders training camp and NewYorkIslanders.com caught up with him to check in
NewYorkIslanders.com: How did you go about making the decision to leave school after your sophomore year?
Scott Mayfield: My goal has always been to play in the NHL, so when I was given that opportunity after my second year to leave and pursue that, I felt it was the best for my career. I felt like I’d get the shot with the Islanders organization and I did at the end of the year last year. I’m happy with my choice and I think I made a lot of strides in my first year pro.
NYI: What does the pro game teach you that the college game doesn’t?
SM: It’s a completely different style. Pro is definitely more physical – it’s called the pro game for a reason. For me it helped a lot because I’m a physical defenseman. I was taken back in college sometimes and I got a few more penalties. You’re not allowed to fight either, and it’s definitely more of a style I like to play.
You’re also playing 76 games in the AHL and 82 in the NHL, whereas college you’re playing 36. In college you have a little more time to work out and more time to do your schoolwork, but the pro game is definitely focused on playing the games and winning.
NYI: What do you miss about college?
SM: A lot of people say college can be the best years of your life. It’s really nice going to school and with the team we had, it was a lot of fun living with guys in the dorms. Class can be a little tough, getting up and doing it, but that’s what makes us student-athletes, being able to go to class and practice at the same time.
NYI: Do you plan on finishing your degree?
SM: Education has always been important to me and I’m going to finish it up [online] and stay on top of that. Now I am getting a Business Management degree from Colorado State College, a little more general than the hospitality one I would have gotten in Denver. I think it’s important to finish.