Four distinct personalities. One shared class, and many shared goals.
Forwards Tanner Ockey and Mason Bergh will split the captaincy this season for Colorado College's hockey team, while defensemen Andrew Farny and Cole McCaskill will be assistant captains. All are entering their third season with the Tigers.
Ockey, coach Mike Haviland noted, has a tendency to make himself heard. He’s one of the loudest voices in the locker room. Bergh, meanwhile, put himself in the running with a strong sophomore season, statistically (14 goals, 10 assists) and off the ice. He’s the Tigers’ returning leading scorer.
It isn’t a good-cop, bad-cop situation, but there will be a difference in approach.
“I think we’ll play off each other well,” Bergh said. “Tanner’s more of the vocal one. He’s more in-your-face. I like to keep it a little bit lighter.”
All but Farny, who wore the ‘A’ last season as well, were surprised to hear they had been selected for the honor. But with no seniors to guide the way, the juniors will be fast tracked.
“We have a lot of guys beyond the letters who are going to lead as well,” McCaskill said.
The roles aren’t just ceremonial. The four captains and the rest of the junior class will carry a lot of the burden of preparation for Colorado College’s exhibition opener Sept. 30 against the University of Lethbridge in Breckenridge and beyond.
Due to a National Collegiate Hockey Conference rule instituted last year, coaches can only practice with the team two hours per week the first month of school. CC’s classes began Monday.
“You can’t show them anything,” Haviland said. “Basically (the captains) run the practices, and that’s where you hold your guys accountable, when you’re not around.”
Farny called these early days a “fun time,” in which the upperclassmen get to set the tone, scope out new talent and get to know everyone.
The defenseman from Steamboat Springs said he’s noticed the team’s overall conditioning has improved compared to previous summers, and expects speed will follow.
Ockey, Bergh and the rest of the Tigers, new and relatively old, will seek out any advantage that will help them improve on an 8-24-4 finish in 2016-17.
“The two years we’ve been here, we haven’t been good enough,” Ockey said. “It’s up to everyone, but us two - and McCaskill and Farny as well - we need to lead the team the right way.”
And age is just a number, according to their coach.
“They’ve been through a lot,” Haviland said. “They’re ready for this leadership role, and they understand the standards that the program needs.”