By Josh Beneteau
We talked to the new men’s hockey captain Michael Fine about his leadership style and the state of the team.
JB: What was your first reaction when you found out you were the new captain?
MF: Anytime you’re chosen to wear the C and be the captain of any organized team, I think you have to be honoured. At the same time you have to understand that it comes with a lot of responsibility, but for the most part I’m excited and looking forward to what’s ahead.
JB: How would you describe your leadership style?
MF: For me, I wouldn’t say I’m the most vocal guy. We have a good core of leaders on our team.
A few of them are louder than others. I’m a guy [who] will say things when they need to be said but at the same time I’m the type of guy who likes to lead by example on the ice.
JB: There was a big turnover in players this year. Can you talk about how the big turnover will affect the team?
MF: Yeah there are a lot of new faces on our team this year. I’m still working on some of the guys’ last names and only know them by their nicknames.
But for the most part I think everyone has come in since day one of camp and worked hard to show coach [Graham Wise] and everyone else on the team that they deserve a spot.
Having so many new faces in the lineup, [Wise] is going to have to go over our systems more than if it was a veteran team with a lot of returning guys. But the new guys look really good, they are fitting in well and we are meshing very well.
JB: Can you talk about your three new assistants, Brian Birkhoff, Mitch Gallant and Lucas Froese and what they’re going to bring to the team?
MF: They’re all great guys. We get along well as a leadership group. A guy like Birkhoff works hard on the ice, works hard off the ice. He helps a lot of guys, whether it be with school or just with whatever they need.
A guy like Mitch Gallant is talkative, very vocal, which you need on a hockey team like ours.
Especially with so many young guys, you need a guy to step up.
And Froese is a workhorse, he’ll say a few things, not as vocal as most guys but I think he will as he learns. That comes with the role of assistant captain.
JB: Can you talk about your personal expectations for this year?
MF: As far as this year I think the coaches [will] lean on me to play a lot of minutes this season and when I’m out there playing those minutes I have to be held accountable and make the best of my opportunities.
JB: Lastly, what are your expectations for the team this year?
MF: I think last year we caught a lot of people off guard with the way we came out of the gate with all of those wins and how many goals we were scoring.
But at the same time it’s going to be a little more difficult because we lost some key players. There’s definitely a lot of places where guys can now step up and take advantage of that and I think with the guys that were brought in, the expectations should be similar if not to do better.
Without a doubt I think everyone in our dressing room believes we can make the playoffs again.
This interview was edited for clarity.