When a high school student-athlete is chosen to be a team captain, it should rightly give them a sense of pride-with a feeling that they are highly thought of by their coaches and teammates.
But, once someone is selected as a captain, the work is just beginning. A captain should take their responsibility with a great deal of seriousness and dedication to be as effective as possible. This means doing things like leading by example through hard work in practice, making the right decisions before during and after games and being steady in the classroom.
Not all captains are able to live up to all of those responsibilities and their ability to lead is in many cases diminished.
This winter, the Roxbury High School ice hockey program has three captains-Anthony Zaragoza, Gabe Rowe and Sam Sherwood-who are in strong standing with their coaches and teammates as well. Zaragoza, Rowe and Sherwood are well respected because of the way the lead the team, not only through words, but also through actions. All three captains are seniors for the Gaels.
“Anthony was an incumbent captain from last season and Sam was named captain at the end of his junior year as he was unanimously recommended by all 15 of last year’s graduating seniors,’’ Roxbury head coach Jon Benbow said. “Gabe was my choice as a third captain at the start of this season. Each season I do my best to choose captains that demonstrate commitment, discipline and sportsmanship on the ice, that represent our program in a positive manner on the ice, in the classroom, and in the community, and that have dedicated themselves to the dual responsibilities of being both students and athletes.’’
When it comes to performing on the ice, Zaragoza, Rowe and Sherwood play with confidence and intelligence, to go along with their considerable skill sets.
“All three captains have been key members of our team in the locker room and on the ice,’’ Benbow said. “Gabe is the second leading scoring forward with eight goals and seven assists, Anthony has four goals and nine assists and is tied for the team lead in assists, and Sam has four goals and seven assists and is the anchor to our penalty killing unit.’’
All of the statistics listed above were from games played through the month of January. As of February 1, the Gaels had an overall record of 8-5-2 and they were in second place in the Halvorsen Division.
Benbow is impressed not only with what the captains are achieving on the ice, but also the many things they do to prepare themselves and their teammates for competition.
“All three captains are good students and work as hard off the ice as they do on the ice,’’ Benbow said. “All three captains are usually three of the first guys on the ice, taking any free time they can find to work on shooting, passing and puck control. They are vocal leaders in the locker room and on the ice, and are constantly encouraging their teammates and keeping everyone focused and positive.’’
NOTES: Roxbury advanced to the NJSIAA State Public A Tournament last season as the No. 7 seed and advanced to the second round before losing a 4-3 game to 10th seeded Robbinsville….Bridgewater-