Dylan Willick’s great year got even better on Wednesday as the UNB Varsity Reds named the fifth-year forward their captain for the 2017-18 season.
Willick is replacing former captain Cam Critchlow, who departed the team during the offseason after serving as captain for the three previous years.
In addition to Willick’s appointment as captain, fourth-year defenseman Randy Gazzola and fourth-year forward Matt Boudens were named assistant captains. A third “A” will be rotated throughout the season, starting with veteran defenseman Colin Suellentrop.
According to head coach Gardiner MacDougall, Willick’s passion and commitment to being the best make him the team’s ideal captain.
“He’s continually finding ways to improve himself as a person, player and community ambassador. He’s a team-first player who will do a great job in leading our group in our pursuits for the upcoming season,” said MacDougall in a press release.
For his part, Willick says that he never campaigned for the captaincy, but he has always made a point of trying to set a positive example for his teammates.
“It’s just one of those things that as you grow up and as you get into a more veteran position on the team, you like to be a guy who you want them looking up to; you want to [provide] direction for the young guys,” he said.
Willick says he has no intentions of changing his leadership style just because he was named captain.
“I’ve always thought leadership-wise that there’s a reason that the guys see you that way and there’s not a point in changing who you are because of a letter on your chest,” he said, adding, “I’ll never be as vocal as a Cam Critchlow, for instance. That’s not really the way that I will be, but we have other guys in there who are wearing A’s who are a lot more vocal than me.”
Instead, Willick is focused on continuing to lead by example.
“I think a big part of it—especially right now—is just to get the young guys to buy into the system and into the culture we have here at UNB…You need to bring it every day; you want to be consistent, you want to be a guy who the guys look up to and expect the best out of you every night.”
He says he also intends to lean on the rest of the team’s leadership group, which he feels is one of their strengths.
“That’s a big part of how this team works, is that everybody shares a portion of the role so that it’s easier for each guy and the team still has great leadership throughout…It’s really nice, considering how many guys out there are leaders on this team.”