Tucker Mullin, 23, is an only child to Joe and Colleen Mullin of Andover.
But as the many people who came to know him for most of his high school and college years, Tucker never fit the common stereotype as spoiled, selfish and bratty. That description couldn’t be further from the truth.
Last night Mullin was named the winner of the prestigious Hockey Humanitarian Award at a ceremony in Pittsburgh during the off-day for the Div. 1 NCAA hockey championships, also known as the Frozen Four.
“Tucker is terrifically driven,” said St. Anselm coach Ed Seney. “He has a passion for hockey and a passion for helping people. My biggest thing is actions speak volumes. Tucker’s actions speak for themselves. He’s a doer and a giver. He is a special young man.”
The St. Anselm senior, who finished his career with 104 points while guiding his team to four consecutive Northeast-10 hockey championships, has been involved in charitable work since his early high school days.
But it was his partnership with Thomas Smith, who was trying out on his junior (post-high school) hockey team, the Boston Bulldogs, that put Mullin in another category when it came to helping others.
Smith went head-first into the boards and was paralyzed from the neck down. Mullin, who barely knew him, was one of the first to visit him in the hospital. A friendship was forged and Smith made a remarkable recovery within a year and miraculously was able to play hockey again.
But a second freakish accident on the ice for Smith and he was paralyzed again. Mullin not only became a bastion of strength for Smith during his second recovery and as he improved, receiving feeling and mobility in most of his body, they decided they would team up and try to find a cure for paralysis.