Chris Mueller Comes Home
Veteran center excited for his second stint with San Diego.Jan 5, 2020
By AJ Manderichio/SanDiegoGulls.com
Chris Mueller’s 12-year career includes stops in eight different cities across the United States U.S. and Canada.
Only one feels like home.
“We really fell in love with this place, and they treated us unbelievably,” Mueller said when discussing his return to San Diego. “Not just the city and the place and the ocean – the people inside and outside the hockey (world) are unbelievable people, and we couldn’t be more fortunate to be back here.”
The veteran center, who returned to the Anaheim Ducks organization in a December Dec. 30 trade with the Tampa Bay Lightning, played a major role during the Gulls’ inaugural 2015-16 season. Mueller led San Diego in goals (20) and power-play goals (8) and co-led in scoring (57) during that season. He also led the team in postseason scoring with 11 points, helping the Gulls to their first Pacific Division Finals appearance.
He found success on – and off – the ice.
“This is our favorite place. We’ve said it every year in the summer, it would be unbelievable to go back to San Diego,” he said. “We met a lot of unbelievable people, both within the hockey world and outside, in our apartment complexes. People that kind of raised our son, babysitters and friends and couples that we met that would babysit our son. They’ve already reached out to us to say they can’t wait for us to come back and opening their houses to us.”
His prior knowledge of the team and organization helped Mueller feel right at home before his first game back in a Gulls sweater.
“I just hope to help this team climb back into the playoff race and get into the playoffs,” he said. “It’s an unbelievable place to play, and an unbelievable place to play in the playoffs. We went on a pretty good run when I was here, just fell short of the conference finals.
“I know what kind of atmosphere this rink gets, and I’m excited to work with these guys. I’ve only been on the ice with them two times (prior to Friday’s game against Bakersfield), but I’m excited to get a few guys back. We have a heck of a hockey team when we put it all together. I just need to learn the systems as best as I can, and hopefully I can help this team be successful.”
Mueller made his debut on Friday night against the Bakersfield Condors, going without a point in the team’s 3-2 loss.
Before stepping onto the ice, the center continually used one word to describe this second tour of duty in San Diego – unbelievable.
“I didn’t want to leave here four years ago, so to come back here is unbelievable,” he said. “Now that I’m even more mature in my career, with a full family, it’s unbelievable.”