The Philadelphia Hockey Club has made huge strides in its first three USPHL Premier seasons and Max Mila has played a big part in that success.
The 20-year-old defenseman and native of Brentwood, Tenn., will begin his collegiate career in the fall when he starts both his post-high school education and post-junior hockey career at Anna Maria College in Massachusetts.
Hockey is catching on in the state of Tennessee, thanks in part to the Nashville Predators’ popularity but compared to many of the hockey hotbed states in the USA, it is not as common to see players from the Volunteer State in junior and college hockey levels.
“Hockey is becoming more popular in Tennessee year-by-year with the Preds popularity in the state and there have been some good teams in the area the last few years,” said Mila in an email interview, adding there is still room for growth. “High School (hockey) in Tennessee is mostly played between schools in the Nashville area.”
Mila, who scored 27 points in 34 games this past season, has been with the Philadelphia Hockey Club since the team was formed in 2018-19 and his partnership with Head Coach Adam Bartholomay goes back even further.
“Coach Bartholomay coached me in Nashville the prior year before joining PHC,” said Mila. “He gave me the opportunity to come play for him again and it seemed like a good fit for me.”
The team showed improvement each season and blasted out of the gate in the Mid-Atlantic Division in the fall of 2020.
“I think the returners set a good culture for the new players to come in and it seemed like we gelled rather quickly together,” said Mila.
Mila is second all-time in regular season games played for PHC with 114 (Mat Thurston played 124), and leads all defensemen with 62 career points.
The choice to take the step to Anna Maria occurred over the course of this past season as well, said the defenseman.
“Anna Maria was one of the schools I had my eye on coming into the season and once I heard they had interest in me, I took a visit there. The program and area seemed like a good fit for me.”
Mila said he primarily looked in the New England area and was sold on Anna Maria not only for the hockey but the school itself when he paid a visit.
“When visiting, I got a good feel for the academic program and it seemed to be a good place to further my education,” said Mila who plans to study Business Administration.
This interview took place just days after a tough playoff series against Elmira Enforcers, a season-long rival that captured a pair of close wins against the Philly crew. So, Mila was already starting to transition from a junior to a college hockey player.
“Obviously, the first couple days after the season ending is hard to take, especially when it was with a good group of guys,” said Mila. “But I feel ready to transition to college and to keep improving as a player and person.”
The USPHL congratulates Max Mila, his family, the Philadelphia Hockey Club and Anna Maria College for his commitment.