Tigers look to Stoykewych for leadership
By Matt Mackinder
Peter Stoykewych says most players only hope to earn the distinction of being named captain of their team.
For the Colorado College senior defenseman, it’s a reality.
The 22-year-old from Winnipeg, who was selected by the Atlanta Thrashers (now the Winnipeg Jets) in the seventh round of the 2010 NHL Entry Draft, says being called on to lead the Tigers “is an honor and a privilege.”
“It’s not something you ever expect, but it’s always something you strive to achieve,” Stoykewych said. “There’s a long history here and I think I’ve taken things from all three previous captains I’ve played under (Nick Dineen in 2011-12, William Rapuzzi in 2012-13 and Eamonn McDermott in 2013-14) to make me part of who I am.”
Stoykewych says he and his three assistant captains this year – senior defenseman Aaron Harstad, junior forward Jared Hanson and sophomore defenseman Jaccob Slavin – will lean on each other for leadership.
“One thing I like about the four of us is that we all don’t agree on everything,” said Stoykewych. “We all have different perspectives; we question why we do certain things, and then come up with the best strategy.”
First-year Tigers head coach Mike Haviland is nothing but pleased with the leadership core his club has in place.
“Peter has represented Colorado College and the hockey program in a way that’s gained tremendous respect from his teammates, as well as the coaching staff,” he said.
Stoykewych was one of just five Tigers to play in all 37 games last year – he hasn’t missed a game the past two seasons – and posted nine points (eight assists).
Last year, Colorado College won all of seven games, but Stoykewych says the team is driven to get the program back to its winning ways.
“There’s a lot of energy this season and the guys are really geared up,” said Stoykewych. “We’re all very excited and our goal is to simply win hockey games and go for a national championship.
“We don’t want to sell ourselves short. We have the talent here and we want to win the (National Collegiate Hockey Conference) championship and then play for a national championship.”
Stoykewych says the coaching staff, which includes assistants R.J. Enga and Gene Reilly, is also confident in the team and its abilities.
“They have the energy and the passion and they know what they’re talking about,” said Stoykewych. “We have a mutual respect for them as coaches as they do for us as players, and we can go to each other about anything.”
As he stares down his final season with the Tigers, Stoykewych says committing to CC back in 2011 was an easy choice – and one he’d make all over again.
“The people here make everything possible,” Stoykewych said. “The tradition of the hockey program and the great education is really everything you could ever want.
“The small campus means the players see a lot of each other and that helps with chemistry, which is unlike any place I’ve ever played before.”
An economics major, Stoykewych is hoping to earn an opportunity in the professional ranks once his season at CC comes to a close.
“I want to play hockey as long as I can,” he said. “For now, though, we understand what our responsibilities are and that’s to go out and win hockey games.
“For the senior class, we want that moment, and for me my moment would be when I get that NCAA championship trophy and turn around and hand it off to one of my teammates.”