For the second straight year, Michigan hockey coach Red Berenson took the duty of naming the team’s captains himself, and for the second straight year, senior forward Jed Ortmeyer will bear the captain’s “C” on his shoulder.
Ortmeyer will become just the seventh Wolverine to be captain of the team in back-to-back seasons. Not only was he the team’s leader last season, but Ortmeyer was also one of the recipients of the Hal Downes Trophy, presented to the team’s Most Valuable Player. Leadership, which was a question on occasion last season, is no longer an issue.
“I like the captains going into the season,” Berenson said. “Last year, there was some concern or certainly some unknowns about our captains, but this year with Ortmeyer coming back after having a strong first year as captain, we’ll have no leadership problems, particularly with John Shouneyia, another senior, as an assistant captain.”
While Ortmeyer says he leads mostly by example, Berenson knows that his captain will speak up when someone has to take charge.
“I look back to the playoffs last year and the Denver game,” Berenson said. “Ortmeyer just grabbed the bell himself, not only in the lockerroom, but on the ice. He was saying it off the ice and he was doing it on the ice.”
Junior defenseman Andy Burnes will join Shouneyia as an assistant captain. The role is nothing new to Shouneyia, who like Ortmeyer, held the position last season. Michigan’s leading active goal scorer, Shouneyia is once again expected to be one of the Wolverines’ leaders on offense.
“I thought (Shouneyia) accepted that role well last year and will be even stronger this year,” Berenson said.
While Burnes was not a captain last year, he has had experience as a leader in junior hockey. Berenson believes Burnes is “captain material” and will lead in his own way.
“This is Andy’s first experience as a captain, he will speak up in a quiet way,” Berenson said. “I think most of his leadership will come in the way he plays and the way he practices.”
The return of two of Michigan’s three captains from last year made this year’s choice a natural one for Berenson and the coaching staff.
“I think the process kind of worked itself out,” Berenson said. “It was obvious to everyone that Jed Ortmeyer did an outstanding job as a captain last year. We could have had an election, and I’m sure the players would have elected the same captains. But I wanted to show Jed and Johnny that we had the confidence in them, and we didn’t have to have the election for it.”