Sept. 27, 2010
Notre Dame, Ind. -
Notre Dame hockey coach Jeff Jackson has named his captains for the 2010-11 season as the Irish look ahead to the first official team practice on Sat., Oct. 2 as they begin preparations for their preseason tilt with the University of Guelph Gryphons on Sun., Oct. 3 at 5:05 p.m. at the Joyce Center.
Senior defenseman Joe Lavin (Shrewsbury, Mass.) will serve as the team's captain this season and will be joined by three alternate captains, fellow seniors Calle Ridderwall (Stockholm, Sweden), Ben Ryan (Brighton, Mich.) and Ryan Guentzel (Woodbury, Minn.). For all four players, this will be their first time serving as captains at Notre Dame.
In making the announcement, Jackson said, "This group of leaders brings different strengths to our team. They all lead by example with some being more vocal than others. These four are a solid leadership group that has already placed a high priority on team chemistry and work ethic. I'm excited by what I have seen from them so far and I expect them to continue carry on what they started into the season."
Lavin has quickly developed into one of the team's leaders in a short time. He joined the Irish for the second half of the 2009-10 campaign after transferring from Providence College and playing in the USHL with the Omaha Lancers for parts of two seasons. He quickly stepped into the lineup and became a key member of the Notre Dame defense over the second half of the year. In 18 games in `09-'10, Lavin scored three goals and seven assists for 10 points with four penalty minutes. He will be the lone senior on a young Notre Dame defense this season and will be counted on to anchor the Irish blue line.
"Joe (Lavin) was a unanimous choice by the players to be team captain and the coaches agreed. That says an awful lot about a young man who transferred in here at midseason and the kind of impact he has had since arriving and over the summer months. He's an extremely mature young man who has his priorities straight and is well respected by his peers," Jackson stated.
Ridderwall will be counted this season to do what he does best - score goals. Over the last two seasons, the talented Swede has scored 36 goals, including 22 via the power play. In `09-'10, he led the team in scoring with a career-high 19 goals with eight assists for 27 points. That earned him team most valuable player and offensive player of the year honors. His 19 goals were fourth among all CCHA goal scorers and his 11 power-play goals led the conference. During his career, he has played in 117 career games with 41 goals and 25 assists for 66 points. His 22 career power-play goals tie him for 10th on Notre Dame's all-time list.
"Calle (Ridderwall) has made great strides in his four years here as a player on the ice, in the weight room and in the classroom. He leads by example with his work ethic and his tenacity in the way he plays the game. He has a strong attitude regarding the success of this team and I think that is so important when one of your best players cares so much about the team's success," commented Jackson.
Ryan is a talented center iceman will look to bounce back a shoulder injury that saw him miss the final 10 games of the `09-'10 with a shoulder injury. In 29 games, Ryan tied for fifth on the team with seven goals and 12 assists for 19 points and was +1 for the year. Included in his seven goals were two power-play tallies and one game winner. One of the team's top face-off men, Ryan has played in 115 career games and will start this season with 29 goals and 43 assists for 72 points. He has nine power-play goals and seven game winners to his credit.
"Benny (Ryan) has overcome adversity in rehabbing his injury that ended his season last year. He's come back this year with a very refreshing attitude. He's doing a great job with our community service efforts and is our Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) representative. He has taken a very proactive approach to getting our team back to a high level in giving back to the community. I'm very proud of where Ben is right now. I expect him to be one of our top players and have a strong presence in the locker room," said Jackson.
Guentzel rounds out the group of four senior captains. He has been one of Notre Dame's key role players over the last three seasons and brings a tremendous work ethic to the Irish lineup. A strong, two-way player who plays hard at both ends of the ice, Guentzel played in 36 games last season with six assists and 10 minutes in penalties. For his career, he has played in 100 games with four goals and 17 assists for 21 points.
"Ryan (Guentzel) has done a great job this summer along with Joe Lavin in making sure that our freshmen were incorporated into the team. He's played a modest role for us since he's been here but has always had a good attitude and a strong understanding of the game. He's one of the vocal guys in the locker room. He understands what we need to do and how we need to do it as far as doing the right thing. He wants to step up in his role on the ice and be more of a leader this season," commented Jackson.
The four players will make their first appearances as captains on Sun., Oct. 3 when Notre Dame plays host to the University of Guelph Gryphons in a 5:05 p.m. preseason game at the Joyce Center. The Irish then open the season on Oct. 8 in the opening game of the Warrior College Hockey Ice Breaker Tournament in St. Louis, Mo. They will face Holy Cross in a 5:30 p.m. (CT) start.