Jefferson Hagen, MacEwan Athletics
EDMONTON – There's no question the intangibles that a captain brings on and off the ice greatly impact the success of a hockey team.
So, MacEwan Griffins women's hockey head coach Lindsay McAlpine is eagerly anticipating the arrival of her newest recruit – Lloydminster Steelers Midget AAA captain Mackenzie Dachuk – who will join the team next season.
"In speaking to their coach, it's very rare in the female game to have completely unanimous support to wear any letter and she had unanimous support from every one of her teammates to wear the 'C' this season," said McAlpine. "She's someone we're really excited to see grow into a leader in our program in the future."
Dachuk has seven goals and 11 points in 23 games so far this Alberta Female Hockey League season in leading the Steelers to a 17-5-1 record, second-best in the loop.
"Mackenzie definitely brings some offensive flair to a roster in which we're losing some players who are our go-to offensive girls in Dom (Scheurer), Raven (Beazer) and Nikki (Reimer) next year, so we're looking for some offensive replacement.
"But I think the best part of Mackenzie is just those intangibles that she brings as a leader. It's something that we seek out all the time when we're looking for future players for us. It's such a crucial piece to our team success."
Dachuk brings the finer details of the game, making her a perfect fit on a Griffins team with like-minded players.
"I think lots of leaders will do anything possible to win," said McAlpine. "I think that's a huge focus for a leader – the reason you're wearing a 'C' is how can you turn this game around? What are you going to do to have your whole team rise up and jump on your back?"
Dachuk, who plays centre, will have plenty of time to grow into a leadership role on a Griffins team full of former captains. It's the third-straight season the Griffins will add a player from the Steelers program after bringing in former Lloydminster captain Tessa Mitchell in 2017 and past assistant captain Alexandra Thomson in 2018.
Added McAlpine: "Captains bring really small things that you really have to be looking for – moments like 'how does she respond to a goal against?' How does she respond when her team's five goals down?
"On the flip side of that, what does she do when we're holding a one-goal lead? What does her demeanour look like on the bench in any of those situations and what is her interaction with her teammates?"
The Griffins have four games remaining in the 2018-19 regular season, including a home-and-home series against Red Deer College this weekend (Friday, 7 p.m., in Red Deer and Saturday, 6 p.m. Downtown Community Arena).