Last weekend, Marquette hockey named junior forward Adam Benkovich the team captain for the 2015-16 season. Neither of head coach Will Jurgensen’s two teams have had a senior as an outright captain.
“I just decided on someone that maybe the guys aren’t expecting, necessarily,” Jurgensen said. “But at the same time, it’s someone I trust, and I’m excited to see them grow.”
Jurgensen allows input from his team and has them vote on who they believe should be elected captain.
“I told them when they voted on Monday that I take their opinions into consideration and I respect what they say,” Jurgensen said. “But at the end of the day, I’m going to pick the guys that I think are the best leaders.”
After several quick warmups before practice on Sept. 30, Jurgensen gathered his players at center ice to make his announcement.
Before announcing Benkovich as captain, Jurgensen revealed to his team that the captain this year would not be a senior, but that the three seniors on the team – Joe Bertane, Mitch Ellena and Brendan Natwora – would all serve as assistant captains.
“They deserve it,” Jurgensen said. “They’ve been here, they know what it takes.”
Then, almost abruptly, Jurgensen unveiled his decision, before offering words of advice to the team as a whole.
“It doesn’t matter if you have a C, an A, junior, senior, I don’t care,” he said. “When we’re out here, all that matters is the team. Those are the guys in the locker room that I expect to stand up. The guys on a rough night that I expect to have a word, those are the guys that I expect to lead the team.”
Benkovich himself was shocked with his head coach’s announcement.
“The selection by Coach Jurgensen was surprising as there are many capable leaders on the team, so I’m honored,” he said.
Benkovich began playing hockey at the age of three when he lived in Canada and continued to play through high school in Illinois. He attended Minooka Community High School in Minooka, Illinois, and played for the Romeoville Huskies hockey club as part of the Central States Development Hockey League (CSDHL).
Through two games as captain, Benkovich has noted how supportive his team has been of his new role. He’s starting to become familiar with his duties as captain and is looking forward to growing with his team.
“As the season continues, all of the leaders will need to step up so the team can accomplish the goals we have set for ourselves,” he said.
Benkovich’s role models include his father, who played hockey at the high school level, as well as Chicago Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews.
“We have another guy who’s going to wear the C, and he’s going to do a really good job for us,” Jurgensen said of Benkovich. “Hopefully he’ll be a vocal guy and be a good leader.”