Minnesota State University, Mankato men’s hockey team on Sept. 10 announced this year’s leadership squad; a diverse group of individuals prepared to spark this year’s team back to the national championship game. Head coach Mike Hastings announced that senior forwards Brendan Furry and Cade Borchardt will serve as captains alongside junior forward Sam Morton and junior defenseman Jake Livingstone as alternate captains.
“Usually our process is we let the players select who they want as their leaders and we as a staff try to support that as much as we can,” Hastings said. “I’m definitely in support of that group because I think it’s a group that has a lot of experience and each and every one of them brings something a little bit different to the table.”
Furry, a Toledo, Ohio native, is heading into his third year with the program after recording 44 points in 44 games played last year. But his journey to collegiate hockey wasn’t like most others, in fact it almost didn’t happen at all.
Furry’s original plan was to enroll at Bowling Green and to maybe play club hockey, but a phone call by a nearby friend took him up I-75 to play AAA hockey for Belle Tire in Detroit. After his brief year with Belle Tire, Furry decided to set his sights on junior hockey in Amarillo, TX.
Furry was able to get a taste of what junior hockey was like by spending about a week in Texas before signing his National Letter of Intent (NLI) with Niagra. However, shoulder surgery threw another fork in the road for Furry and sent him back to junior hockey – this time for Omaha and Tri City. This would ultimately be his last stab at junior hockey before making the transition and committing to Mankato.
“At some points it is surreal and you take a moment to reflect and take it all in,” said Furry. “It’s a true honor being able to represent and lead this team after last season. Just being able to lead these guys and the young guys on the same path that we’ve been on in recent years and hopefully keep on that same trajectory.”
Coming off another stellar performance last season, Borchardt was selected for the other captaincy role by his teammates. The Burnsville, Minn. native, who enters his fourth season with the program, has tallied 65 pts in 82 games played with Minnesota State.
“I’ve seen the guys that’ve gotten the opportunity to wear a letter here and they’re all guys I’ve gotten to look up to, so it’s a huge honor,” Borchardt said. “Growing up you hope to keep continuing to play hockey and when I got the chance to play here that was special. [Now] having the honor to wear a letter here is definitely special.”
In addition to the two highly respected captain nominations, Livingstone was also nominated by his teammates to serve as an assistant captain for this season. Hailing from Creston, B.C., Livingstone has amounted 45 points through two seasons with the Mavericks in addition to being named “CCHA Defenseman of the Year” and “First Team All CCHA” last season.
“It’s a big responsibility here and is a huge step to help me grow as a person and it’s a huge honor,” said Livingstone. “You always hope [you’d be able to represent the program as a leader], but I didn’t really think about it much.”
A native of Lafayette, Colo., Morton was named the final alternate captain by his peers for the 2022-23 season. Entering his third season with the program, Morton has accounted for 34 pts in 55 games played with the Mavericks along with earning “All-Tournament” honors at last year’s Frozen Four appearance.
“It’s definitely an honor; all the guys that have come before me I’ve looked up to and respected them,” said Morton. “I think I definitely wanted to take on a leadership role at some point, but that doesn’t necessarily mean wearing a letter. You can be a leader without one. I wanted to be that kind of person to show the younger guys the culture of our program.”
Furry, Borchardt, Morton, and Livingstone, will be faced with the heavy, but unique burden of upholding the culture and values that previous captains have set before them. And with historic captains in the likes of Wyatt Aamodt, Riese Zmolek, and Marc Michaelis, the guys will definitely have their hands full. However, Hastings believes this year’s slate of captains can guide them back to another run at a national championship.
“I think each year is unique, and this group has decided that that’s the group they want to follow,” Hastings said. “Each team goes through a different journey and I think they’ve done a really good job preparing themselves physically. There’s a lot of different things that go into having success, but I like where we’re at at this moment and we just gotta keep getting better everyday.”
Header Photo: (From left to right) Sam Morton, Brendan Furry, Cade Borchardt and Jake Livingstone have been announced the 2022-23 season Men’s Hockey captains. (Lilly Anderson/The Reporter)
Write to Karson Buelow at Karson.Buelow@mnsu.edu