Sept. 30, 2009
Notre Dame, Ind. -
Notre Dame hockey coach Jeff Jackson has announced his team captains for the 2009-10 season as the Irish look forward to their first official team practice on Saturday, Oct. 3. The team then opens the regular-season schedule with a weekend series, Oct. 9-10, at the Joyce Center vs. Alabama-Huntsville.
Senior Ryan Thang (Edina, Minn.) will serve as the team's captain and will be joined by three alternate captains - seniors Kevin Deeth (Gig Harbor, Wash.) and Kyle Lawson (New Hudson, Mich.), who will be joined by junior Teddy Ruth (Naperville, Ill.). Thang and Lawson served as alternate captains last season while Deeth and Ruth will be in their first season as captains with the Irish.
In making the announcement, Jackson said, "This group of leaders along with the senior class as a whole will do an outstanding job leading the team because they've seen the good, the tough losses and have the most experience in those situations as any group we've had. Under their guidance they'll help us take that next step as a team."
Thang has developed into one of Notre Dame's and the CCHA's top goal scorers in his first three seasons at Notre Dame. As a junior, he had 10 goals and nine assists for 19 points in 33 games, missing seven games with a high ankle sprain suffered on Feb. 6 at Ohio State. In three seasons with the Irish, Thang has 48 goals and 44 assists for 92 career points. A prototypical power forward, the 6-0, 193-pound left wing has scored 21 power-play goals (11th all-time) and owns 13 game winners with that mark tying him for first on the all-time list. A finance major at Notre Dame, Thang served as an alternate captain on the 2008-09 team.
"This senior class has had a chance to see our program grow into something special," said Jackson. "Ryan (Thang) has been a consummate player since the day he arrived here. He's always led by example, either on the ice, or in the weight room or in the classroom. No one has worked harder on his game. Ryan is a great example for our younger players."
Lawson is one of the top defensemen in the CCHA and the nation and has proven that he is a player who can deliver both on and off the ice. As a junior, he was a second team all-CCHA selection and was chosen by the league's coaches as the CCHA defensive defenseman of the year. An alternate captain in 2008-09, Lawson was second among Notre Dame defensemen in scoring with four goals and 19 assists for 23 points. Three of his goals came on the power play with the other a short-handed tally. His +14 was second on the team. The talented blueliner was the winner of Notre Dame's William Donald Nyrop Award as the team's top defenseman. As a sophomore, the 5-11, 208-pound defenseman was an honorable mention all-CCHA selection after being an all-rookie team selection in his freshman year. A double major in psychology and computer applications, Lawson has played in 123 career games, scoring 13 goals with 55 assists for 68 points. He is +48 for his career.
"Kyle (Lawson) has a passion about the program and his commitment to his team and teammates," said Jackson. "No one cares more than Kyle when it comes to helping us win a championship. He's a real passionate kid who wears his heart on his sleeve."
Deeth rounds out the group of three seniors who will serve as captains in 2009-10. A talented center iceman, Deeth was fourth in team scoring last season with four goals and 27 assists for 31 points. His 27 assists were a career high and led the team in that category. A tough tenacious forechecker, the 5-8, 170-pound center is one of the CCHA's top faceoff men. In his first three seasons, Deeth has played in 127 career games and has 32 goals with 63 assists for 95 points. He has scored 13 power-play goals, chipped in three short-handed tallies and has three game winners. For his career, the marketing major is +41.
"Kevin Deeth is the ultimate competitor. He lays it on the line every day in practice and on the ice in games," said Jackson. "He's done a tremendous job in the classroom during his career here. The seniors are all three different types of players who give us a good mix of leadership styles."
Ruth rounds out the group of four who will serve as captains. A junior, the 6-1, 208-pound defenseman is one of the CCHA's top stay-at-home blueliners who makes life tough for opposing forwards. A physical defenseman, Ruth has been a regular on the Notre Dame defense in each of his first two seasons. Last year he played in 36 games with two goals and five assists for seven points and was +11 on the year. He also spent time with the U.S. Junior National team at the World Junior Championships in Ottawa, Ont.
"Teddy (Ruth) is a junior and I always like to break in a junior in a leadership role," said Jackson. "He looks like he's in position to have a great year. His frame of mind and conditioning is better than I've ever seen it. Ted was recruited here to be a captain because of his character and commitment to the success of the team."
The four Notre Dame players will make their first appearances as captains on Tuesday, Oct. 6 at the team's annual "Drop the Puck" reception that will be held at the Joyce Center beginning at 7:00 p.m. Current New York Islanders' general manager, Garth Snow, will serve as the guest speaker. The reception is free and open to all Irish hockey fans but they must RSVP for the "Drop The Puck" reception. Reservations also can be made by calling 574-631-7356 or by email at email@example.com.