McCarthy leads the Suffolk herd

Skylar To

Underneath the scoreboard and the Suffolk Rams banner, one of three hockey captains Connor McCarthy, lined up in Suffolk’s’ defensive end with his teammates. The team tapped their sticks in unison just before skating over to center ice to meet their opponents for a moment of silence and the Star Spangled Banner just moments away from puck drop.

The first year captain Suffolk senior year said he demonstrated good leadership and responsibility throughout his four years playing as a defenseman for the team.

“It’s great leading a group of guys who look up to you,” McCarthy said. “[Being captain] means the world to me. You are playing and winning for your family.”

He said that there is more to being a captain than just wearing the ‘C’ stitched on his jersey. McCarthy, sporting number 16, makes sure that his teammates are doing their jobs. Prior to stepping on the ice for practices and games, he said there is a lot of preparation and communication with the team to make sure that everyone is on the same page. His most important attributes are preaching positivity and being approachable.

“I want to be a good leader, teammate, and hopefully a good role model,” he said. “The common goal is to work with the person next to you and doing anything for my teammates.”

Aside from the leadership aspect of the sport, responsibility also comes in a physically demanding workload including practice, gym workouts, and office meetings, traveling and dealing with injuries, on top of his studies as finance major. He tries to mentally prepare for each game, taking a different approach each time as every game and team is different.

“[Hockey] is physically daunting, but it’s a competitive fun you can’t have anywhere else,” he said.

The 23-year-old defenseman logs an average of about 20-25 minutes of ice time. “I don’t score goals; I’ll leave that to the other guys, that’s not a part of my game,” McCarthy said with a chuckle. “I’m a defensive defenseman. I am effective with killing penalties.”

McCarthy reflected on his proudest moment with the team, during the first half of his junior year when the Rams ranked top 15 in the nation.  At one point during that stretch they were undefeated with nine consecutive wins.

“It was the first time in school history it happened, and it was incredible,” he said. “It was a high point for the team. I want to improve on that and finish better this season.”

McCarthy’s goals for the team this season are to win one game at a time and to make the league championship.

Throughout his four years with the team, McCarthy said that the team has been improving since day one. They have been receiving more recognition, were able to get new jerseys, and players have been giving back to the university and community. His advice to the younger guys on the team is to appreciate playing hockey for the university, because the four years goes by fast.

“It’s been a great four years playing for the university, I wouldn’t change it for the world,” he said. “It’s going to be a sad and proud day when it’s over.”