“He has a way of working along the boards in tight spaces, turning his body every which way to get a hand, an arm, his stick, free from the defenseman and to the puck to obtain possession.” “Mirko’s uncanny ability to come up with the puck in tight quarters have earned him the nickname, ‘Slinky’, ” states Frantz Bergevin-Jean, Moncton’s Director of Communications and assistant coach. “He is just super off the puck, working it free along the boards to help to start a scoring chance”. “He never hestitates to do the dirty work in the corners or in front of the net”, he adds.
Born in Montreal, but also a citizen of Switzerland, Mirko has made a name for himself as a tough, 2-way forward for the Moncton Wildcats of the QMJHL the last 2 seasons. He was named the team’s rookie of the year in the 97-98 season after scoring 10 goals and 15 assists for 25 pts. in 54 games. He followed that up with 21 goals and 33 assists for 54 pts. in 69 games in 98-99. He added an assist in 4 playoff games against Rimouski. “We are looking forward to a big year from Mirko in 99-00”, says Bergevin-Jean, “He will have a bigger role on the team as an 18 yr. old, particularly as a leader this seaon”, he adds. “He will undoubtedly play on one of our top two lines this year”, he says.
Mirko slowly rose the ladder this past year as he was ranked 84th by CSB at their mid-term ranking and ended up the 67th-ranked North American skater by the end of the season. He played for Team Orr in the annual prospects games and had an assist.
The Maple Leafs drafted the 6-2, 190 lb. left-winger in the 4th round with the 108th overall choice in the 1999 NHL entry draft. They envision a potential power-forward who has good hands and the excellent eye-hand coordination to be effective on deflections in front of the net. He has the desire and work ethic to continue to improve his game on his path to the NHL. “He is very responsible and effective in his own zone as well as a defensive forward”, states Bergevin-Jean. “He works very hard at the game to improve his skills”, he adds.
Mirko comes from an athletic background and a talented family, as his sister is a top-notch Jr. figure skater in Canada. Matching the natural athletic ability, though, is his strong desire to get better. “He reminds me of a young Trevor Linden-type player. He should be a 35+ goal scorer in our league next season, and certainly has the will to win to someday make it to the NHL”, states Bergevin-Jean.
The left-handed shooting Mirovic works best in close to the net, but also has a nice, quick, powerful wrist shot as well. “He can be an effective scorer from the cirlces on in”, says Bergevin-Jean. “He also is an effective puck-handler and passer as well”, he adds. “To reach the pro ranks, Mirko must continue to improve his skating ability”, he adds. “He worked hard on a power-skating regimen in the past, and he will have the desire to continue to improve in this area”, he says.
Mirko suffered a shoulder injury during the 97-98 season, which forced him to miss some action that season, but he has shown the will to always battle back from adversity. A well-conditioned athlete, he has had few other problems with injuries.
The Maple Leafs have few power-forward prospects in their system. Coach and GM, Pat Quinn, has stated that the team needs to add bigger, more physical, skilled forwards to the organization. Murovic has the size, skills, guts and maybe most importantly, the heart and desire to make it big in hockey. There are many in the Leafs’ organization who will be rooting for him to climb the ladder to the NHL. I wouldn’t bet against him as he makes that climb.
Special thanks to Moncton Wildcats Director of Communications and assistant coach, Frantz Bergevin-Jean in conducting this interview.