Can’t contain the captain

Lindsay Huck, features writer

Sam Smith ties his right skate, something he does before every game, puts on his jersey, looks at his teammates and prepares for the game ahead. They look back as he begins to give advice before the game, granting respect to the young hockey captain.

This leadership role is not new to Smith. He was nominated by Mark Fischer, varsity hockey coach, as a sophomore to be an assistant captain for the varsity team.

“I thought the older kids wouldn’t respect me, especially since I was just a sophomore when I was [nominated],” Smith, junior, said. “I didn’t think the seniors would look up to me as an underclassmen.”

Smith said his reason for being captain as an underclassmen may have been due to his 13 year experience playing hockey. According to Smith, this makes him prone to knowing how to handle serious circumstances.

“I used to play more select hockey than some of the other players, so some other kids didn’t have as much knowledge for the game,” Smith said. “Some [guys] don’t talk as much and don’t know what to say to [motivate] the team. I have good advice for the younger kids and some of the older ones, too.”

Throughout his hockey career, Smith said he has had many rewarding moments. However, Smith said his most satisfying moment involved his brother, Dustin.

“My first goal was during my freshman year,” Smith said. “It was a pass from my brother who was a senior. My mom always remembers this because it was a special moment.”

Smith’s teammate, James Fuszner, JV captain, said Smith brings positive aspects to the team, helping the players when they are in need of a leader.

“[Sam] brings a good attitude and a winning mentality,” Fuszner, junior, said. “He leads by relating to other players and helping others when needed, talking through anything, whether it’s on the ice or in school. He is a great role model as to what a captain should be.”

Smith said he has been playing hockey since he was 4 years old. According to Fuszner, because of his long history of playing hockey, Smith brings a variety of skills to the team.

“My dad played hockey when he was little, and my older brother played hockey, so it is a tradition in the family,” Smith said. “At first I didn’t like [hockey] and I quit for a year when I was 5. I missed it though, and I’ve been playing ever since.”

When Smith prepares for a game, he thinks about his teammates and how they can improve. As a captain, he said he has to make sure everyone is doing their best.

“When I step on the ice, I think about what I can do to help the team,” Smith said. “It’s all about making sure the performance of the team is as good as it can be.”