Callahan the heartbeat of Providence hockey

Photo: Tessa McAndrews

by Jordan Conn | AHL On The Beat

It’s rare for a hockey player to play his college and professional games in the same city. Michael Callahan, defenseman for the Providence Bruins, has relished that opportunity.

Callahan, a native of Franklin, Mass., began his Rhode Island hockey journey in 2018 just two miles from downtown Providence, calling Providence College’s Schneider Arena his home for four seasons.

The three-year captain of the Friars was a leader on and off the ice, totaling 66 points in 138 career games and earning First Team Hockey East All-Star honors for 2019-20.

Friars head coach Nate Leaman was thrilled to have recruited Callahan.

“Mike was a great three-year captain and four-year player at Providence College,” said Leaman. “He excelled in all situations in the Hockey East conference…and was a great teammate and outstanding representative of Providence College.”

Now in his second full season with the P-Bruins, Callahan has found another leadership role on the blue line.

“College and professional hockey have both gone the same way for me; I just try to be myself,” said Callahan. “Whether that’s practice days around the guys or on game days, I just do my best every day and try to be a good example.”

Ryan Mougenel, head coach of the Providence Bruins, has noticed the growth in Callahan’s game and his leadership role.

“I think Callahan has grown his leadership abilities through a great program with Providence,” said Mougenel. “He’s a fantastic example of living it every day with what he brings and his leadership attributes. He backs it up. He’s done an amazing job growing as a defenseman. What he brings to the table is an important part of being a Bruin.”

The 24-year-old Callahan is an example for his teammates away from the rink as well, giving back to the city in which he has spent the last six years. This season, Callahan purchased toys for children in Hasbro Children’s Hospital over the holidays, visited military members at Quonset Air National Guard Base, and stopped by the Hotel for Homeless Dogs to hang out with the sheltered animals.

Another unique aspect of Callahan’s career is representing the organization that he grew up cheering for. Originally a fifth-round pick by Arizona in the 2018 NHL Draft, Callahan had his rights acquired by Boston in February 2022, shortly before he signed an entry-level contract in March to finish the season with Providence.

Callahan cherishes the opportunity to represent his favorite team.

“It’s incredibly special and not something I’ve taken for granted,” he said. “The opportunities I’ve had to wear the ‘spoked B’ have meant a lot to me and my family. I’m going to keep working hard to earn more of those opportunities in the future.”

Bruins fans have a lot to get excited about with a prospect like Callahan.