BY J. BRADY MCCOLLOUGH
Daily Sports Writer
Published September 9, 2001
Michigan forward Jed Ortmeyer spent the second half of last season sidelined with a torn anterior cruciate ligament. This season, he"ll lead the Wolverines onto the ice as the team"s captain.
More like this
"I can"t wait to get back on the ice," Ortmeyer said. "I"ve been waiting since February of last season to get back out there and be a part of the team again. You can try to be a part of the team, but if you"re not suiting up every game with them it"s tough."
Watching the Wolverines while he was sidelined gave him plenty of time to evaluate his team and learn what it will take to successfully lead it this year as a junior.
"I think when you"re sitting out, you can see some things that happened behind the play that you won"t see when you"re playing," Ortmeyer said. "There was definitely more leadership at the end of the year when we were playing well. You could definitely see that throughout the whole team in the locker room."
Michigan"s leadership will be crucial during the 2001-2002 campaign with 10 true freshman on the roster. It will be up to Ortmeyer and the assistant-captains senior defenseman Jay Vancik, and junior forwards Mike Cammalleri and John Shouneyia to give them guidance and support.
"We just have to make them feel like they"re part of the team, and make sure that they know what they need to do," Ortmeyer said. "Just encourage them, and help them out with any problems they have, so they feel comfortable on the ice."
The Michiganfreshmen showed their enthusiasm by singing a rousing rendition of "Hail to the Victors" at center court.
Ortmeyer, who played in 27 games last season, tallied 21 points on 10 goals and 11 assists. Michigan missed his leadership, work ethic and physical style of play, especially in its late season games against Michigan State one of the top defensive teams in the country.
Not only is Ortmeyer eager to hit the ice again this fall, but his ACL is currently 100-percent recovered.
"Ortmeyer is a good example of what a Michigan captain should be," Michigan coach Red Berenson said. "His work ethic on the ice is exceptional, and the players are going to see that every day. He"s always been a team player. The team will come first, and that"s obviously important in a good leader."
Michigan normally names its captain early in the summer through a team vote. But this year"s decision was made by Berenson and the coaching staff.
"Because of the loss of key players (Andy Hilbert and Jeff Jillson) this summer and the timing of everything, we haven"t really had a chance to get the team back together for a vote of this importance," Berenson said.
importance," Berenson said.