Coming in at No. 2 is someone who is no stranger to the top three of this list. Alina Mueller has dominated T25U25 since she’s been on it, and this year, coming off of a third Olympic year, she lands at No. 2.
Mueller had quite the year, scoring 39 points in 21 games for Northeastern where she is an alternate captain as well as leading Team Switzerland in scoring at the 2022 Olympics with 10 points in seven games. Switzerland landed in fourth after losing in the bronze medal game to Finland, but not without a massive effort by Mueller.
In 2021, Mueller suffered an ankle injury in the preliminary round of the World Championship, making this Olympics a massive comeback for her and an opportunity to prove that she fully healed.
In March, after returning from the Olympics, Mueller scored two goals in less than one minute to secure another Hockey East title over Connecticut. To say she’s an MVP is an understatement. This is just one of many examples of her clutch gene and scoring when it’s needed in big places. Honestly, with over two points per game on the season, and league-leading scoring efficiency, she just scores all the time and I don’t think she has any intention of stopping.
Alina Mueller just doing Alina Mueller things pic.twitter.com/ZjXWRDRMTt— The Ice Garden (@TheIceGarden) March 20, 2021
- 2014 Olympic Bronze medal.
- Youngest ice hockey player to win Olympic medal, at 15.
- 2018-19 Swiss Ice Hockey Woman of the Year.
- Hockey East Scoring Champion 2019-20, 2020-21.
- Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award Top-10 Finalist in 2018-19, 2020-21.
- Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award Top-3 Finalist in 2019-20.
- Tied for most goals by a women’s hockey player in an Olympic game with 4.
- A novel length list of other collegiate accomplishments
What comes next
Another year at Northeastern where she is very likely to dominate the scoring as she had in the past. Last season, she came in fourth in scoring on the team despite playing 16 less games than Maureen Murphy, who led the team. With a full season next year, Mueller may just have her best season yet.
After that? The sky is the limit. Mueller is a name you will hear for a long time in the international game. She is synonymous with Switzerland and she very well could break a record for Olympic Games attended. I’d love to see her grab up another medal or two as well.
After the 2023 season, Mueller will likely have an array of pro teams fighting for her to play for them and I can’t wait to see where she goes because it could be anywhere she wants. Swiss or Swedish leagues may be an option if she’d like to stay closer to home but with North American leagues offering higher salaries every year now, who knows what she will choose. Wherever it is, they’ll be lucky to have her.
turned the BC v Northeastern game on just in time to see Alina Mueller do Alina Mueller things for her second goal of the game pic.twitter.com/BIISzlHVeW— Michelle Jay (@michelle_jay3) January 10, 2020
Too high or too low
Maybe a little bit too high, but I’m not complaining. Mueller has had such an immense impact on the game of hockey before even turning 25 that it’s hard to knock her down at all despite not posting the numbers she did her freshman or sophomore year at Northeastern.
Before even playing collegiately, Mueller had cracked our list and she peaked a No. 1 in 2020 which was overwhelmingly deserved.
It’s hard to think that Swiss hockey as a whole would be the same without her, and for that alone, she deserves this credit. There may be a few players who had a better calendar year than her that I could see beating her out for this place, but seeing her this high on the list is a good thing. I will certainly miss her in our top five next year.