A young Blizzard roster will be led by a trio of veteran players during the 2013-2014 campaign.
Brookings Blizzard head coach Cory Laylin announced today the captains for the 2013-2014 season. Nick DeCenzo will be team captain during the season and Evan Hesse and Conrad Sampair will be assistant captains.
“It is great for our team to have such strong and experienced leaders in our locker room,” said second-year Blizzard head coach Cory Laylin. “Each of our captains brings something different to the team and each will play an important role in our success this year.”
Nick DeCenzo is a three year veteran and has played all three seasons with the Blizzard. He played in 61 games for the Blizzard in 2012-2013 and finished with 25 points and 8 goals. Listed as a forward, DeCenzo is one of the most versatile players on the Blizzard roster. Last season he split time at forward and defense.
“I expect Nick to have a big year. He has always been one of the most dedicated guys on the team and leads by example,” said Laylin about the 20 year old from Hibbing, MN. “He is one of the hardest guys in the league (North American Hockey League) to play against. He has a high motor and his style of play really gets under people’s skin.”
“Coach mentioned he was considering me for captain this summer and when he told me yesterday, I was honored and proud to lead the team,” said DeCenzo.
DeCenzo was also a captain for this high school team in Hibbing, MN before joining the Blizzard in 2011.
Returning Blizzard forward Evan Hesse was also announced as an assistant captain. Hesse played in 49 games for the Blizzard last year, after spending the first nine games in Johnstown. He had 44 total points last year for the Blizzard and Johnstown. A native of Monticello, MN, the veteran forward will be playing his fourth season in the NAHL, the first two in Alaska and last year in Johnstown and Brookings
“Evan worked extremely hard in the off-season and has looked really goodin camp,” said Laylin. “He is very skilled with the puck and his speed is a real asset for him.”
The other assistant captain is Blizzard newcomer Conrad Sampair. The 20 year-old from White Bear Lake, MN spent part of last season with the Jamestown Ironman and NAHL newcomer Minnesota Wilderness, who played in the SIJHL last season.
“Conrad plays a lot bigger than he is. He always plays with a lot of speed and at a high typo,” said Laylin. “He is new to our locker room but he has a blue collar work ethic that guys respect and feed off of.”
The three captains will lead a Blizzard team that only returned 7 players from last year’s squad.
“We have a lot of new guys but we have already built pretty good chemistry in the locker room,” added DeCenzo. “As captains it’s our job to keep everyone positive and working in the right direction. We have a lot of talent and there is going to be some good competition for playing time. We need to make sure guys are keeping their heads up as we work toward making it to the Robertson Cup.”
The Blizzard will open the 2013-2014 regular season tomorrow at the NAHL Showcase in Blain, MN. The Blizzard will start the four day event by taking on the Michigan Warriors at 4:30pm.The game can be seen on Fasthockey.com. Fans will also be able to listen to Saturday night’s game against the Kenai River Brown Bears on 107.1 The Hawk in Brookings, or on-line at brookingsradio.com. The puck is scheduled to drop at 7:00pm on Saturday.