The Michigan hockey team is used to underclassmen making immediate impacts. Last year, sophomore Aaron Palushaj led the team in scoring before leaving for the NHL. Current goalie Bryan Hogan sits second in Michigan history in goals against average, with 1.97 — a number he posted as a sophomore.

When it comes to sophomore Luke Glendening, it’s what he does in practice that’s making history. For the first time in 19 years, and just the third time in Michigan program history, a sophomore will wear a letter on his chest.

After senior Chris Summers was the only captain for the first 10 games, the players voted Glendening and junior Carl Hagelin to be the alternate captains for the remainder of the season.

Glendening didn’t expect it coming into the season, but the letter should feel like nothing new. The soft-spoken Grand Rapids native earned captaincy in three sports throughout high school and boarding school, in part due to the same extraordinary work ethic he has shown at Michigan in practice.

“I’m not always the most vocal guy, but I’ve been on teams with a lot of different players,” Glendening said. “I think that’s going to help. There’s a part of being an assistant captain — I need to be vocal, but I also just need to kind of walk the walk.”

Making the feat more impressive is the fact that, at this time last season, Glendening didn’t even have a scholarship.

Two years ago, while on a recruiting trip to The Hotchkiss School to look at a different player, assistant coach Billy Powers saw Glendening’s play on the ice. Despite Glendening’s less-than-impressive statistics during his prep school career, Powers talked to the coach about Glendening coming to Michigan as a possible recruited walk-on. Glendening, who was considering playing football at a small college, jumped at the opportunity to join a Division I program.

He found his way on the ice in the second game of last season and embraced his role as a defensive forward, remaining a mainstay in the lineup during his freshmen year. He registered just 10 points, but his play spoke louder than that to the coaching staff.

“He just impressed you day-to-day,” associate head coach Mel Pearson said. “Day in and day out in practice, you just saw how hard he worked. And then he got into the games and he made it tough for the coaches to take him out of the lineup.”

Forty-five games, a scholarship offer and a Most Improved Player award later, the only major difference in his game when he takes the ice Friday against Bowling Green will be the “A” stitched to his jersey.

Michigan coach Red Berenson doesn’t expect anything different from Glendening or his contemporary, Hagelin, this weekend.

“It just gives them a little bit of entitlement, or a little bit of authority, or a little bit of responsibility to (continue working hard),” Berenson said.

Before his public recognition, Glendening’s leadership was evident in his penalty-kill prowess, which played a big part in keeping him in the lineup as a freshman. This season, he has spearheaded a unit that ranks fifth nationally. For Glendening, being a part of a unit is what it has been all about.

“I like just being part of something like the Michigan hockey team,” Glendening said. “It’s a lot bigger than myself. It’s a lot bigger than one person. I was just really excited when I got here to be a part of that. Now, to be where I am, it’s a great blessing, it’s a great honor, but I have to just keep working hard and doing the things that got me here in the first place.”

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