Sun Devils name Hollman team captain; Rowe, Croston tabbed alternates
For the second straight season, Arizona State University has named redshirt junior Dylan Hollman as the team captain.
Fellow juniors Louie Rowe and Anthony Croston (Phoenix native, Jr. Coyotes graduate) are the alternates.
Hollman officially becomes the longest tenured captain in the program’s young history.
“Those three embody our motto of ‘Be the Tradition,'” said ASU coach Greg Powers. “They are incredible human beings and set a great example both on and off the ice for the rest of our players. They are setting the standard here so well, and I couldn’t be more proud of all three of them.”
It is a rare occurrence to see three sophomores wear patches for an NCAA program, but Powers put full trust in all three of them a season ago to lead the Devils during an important stretch in the program’s development.
“Being put into a leadership position with a young program has helped all three of us grow personally,” said Hollman. “Last season had some extreme highs and lows, so from an emotional perspective, it was challenging to stay the course at times. But I feel we did a fairly good job. Coach Powers has put a lot of trust in us and we have a very transparent relationship with him. He is an excellent communicator and makes it easy for us to collaborate ideas and all get on the same page.”
The three also collaborated easily on the ice as well. Starting in late November, the three shared a line together for all but six games, totaling 17 goals and 26 assists as a line in 17 games.
It wasn’t until early in that month that Croston first donned the ‘A’ on his sweater. Prior to his promotion, he totaled no goals and an assist with a minus-3 rating on the ice. In the last 23 games of the season with the patch, he buried 10 goals and 10 assists for a plus-6 rating. He finished the season as the team leader in goals and points.
“Since getting the ‘A’, I have definitely felt that the added responsibility to lead on and off the ice has helped in pushing me to be my best,” said Croston. “I think it’s a major reason why I was successful last year. I see myself as a leader by example and I push myself every day to be that. Last year was a good season for us as a program and with that said, I started to learn what it takes to lead in a winning environment. Although we didn’t have that great of a record, we were able to beat some top-level teams. I think a lot of that has to do with leadership throughout the locker room, not just the guys who wear the letters.
The upcoming season for the Sun Devils features a total of 10 new faces – eight freshmen — accounting for over a third of the roster, thus giving the captains an additional responsibility to acclimate them to program and learn as quickly as possible.
“With such a large freshman group, I think it can help them feel comfortable right away knowing that they are sharing the experience with seven or eight other guys,” said Hollman. “The quicker they adjust the better off we are going to be as a team, so really we are just trying to involve them as much as possible. Being here in the summer to workout, skate and just be around each other is a huge part of that since it allows them to get comfortable before they begin school full time and practicing full time.”
The three of them see the responsibility more as an honor, as they get the rare opportunity to leave a legacy and build a tradition with a new program. Something not many collegiate athletes get the privilege of doing.
“It’s been a tremendous honor to be able to lead this program throughout its growth,” said Hollman. “To watch us grow from being the new team, to being competitive, to beating top-20 opponents, it has been one of the coolest experiences of my hockey career.
“The next step for us is to adopt some consistency to our game and put ourselves in a position to make the NCAA tournament. I feel as if we are well on our way towards that goal and I am extremely optimistic about the future of our program.”
The 2017-18 season begins on Saturday, Sept. 30 as the Sun Devils take on Northern Alberta Institute of Technology in an exhibition game at Oceanside Ice Arena.
The regular season begins on Friday, Oct. 6, against UMass at Oceanside.