10/28/2014 9:21 AM -
If you ask Vincent LoVerde whether he considered being named captain of the Manchester Monarchs this season, he answers with a swift “no.”
But then he catches himself in a lie.
“I take that back,” LoVerde said. “It crossed my mind a little bit.”
A 25-year-old defenseman out of Miami University in Ohio, LoVerde was named the 11th captain in the 14-year history of the Monarchs. He takes over the captaincy from fellow blue-liner Andrew Campbell, who played in Manchester for parts of six seasons.
Campbell received Manchester’s Community Service Award in each of the last three seasons before signing as a free agent with the Arizona Coyotes. He returned to Manchester for the first time as a visitor last Friday when the Portland Pirates came to town.
“Soupy was a great leader,” LoVerde said. “I learned a lot from him throughout my two years with him and before him it was Marc-Andre Cliché, who I also learned a lot from. You kind of learn stuff from them, but at the same time, you can’t try to be someone else. You’ve got to be who you are. But throughout the years, you’ll pick up a thing or two that work well.”
The Monarchs came into the season with a new head coach in Mike Stothers and a roster that featured seven rookies. To decide who would captain his team, Stothers gathered a group of returning players for a series of meetings that led him to naming LoVerde the captain.
Being named captain of a professional hockey team is a role completely unique to the sport. You are part spokesman, politician, older brother and disciplinarian for the club. It’s a responsibility that LoVerde called “a privilege and an honor.”
“You’re kind of the voice of the team, but at the same time, I ask my assistant captains a lot of questions,” he said. “They help me a lot and you’re just kind of relaying messages back and forth. In terms of responsibilities, I think obviously there’s some stuff that’s tough to do or you have to have some tough conversations. But, it’s part of the responsibility of being captain is having those tough conversations sometimes.”
A native of Chicago, LoVerde has posted a combined plus/minus rating of plus-54 since his debut with the Monarchs during the 2012-13 season. He already has a goal and an assist in the first five games of this year. He’s established himself as a leader on the ice, now he feels comfortable taking on a leadership role in the locker room.
“You just got to be yourself,” he said. “Be who are and not try to change who you are.”
The job description of captain also includes bargaining with the referees, staying as diplomatic as possible when arguing a call. So how’s the relationship with the refs?
“I don’t know,” LoVerde said with a laugh. “I guess you’d have to ask them.”
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