Cameron Pollack / Sun File Photo

Senior forward Mitch Vanderlaan will once again serve as captain for Cornell men's hockey.

October 11, 2018

Men’s Hockey Names Vanderlaan Captain; McCrea, Nuttle to Serve as Alternates

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This post has been updated.

Senior forward Mitch Vanderlaan will wear a ‘C’ on his jersey for the second consecutive season, with classmates defensemen Alec McCrea and Matt Nuttle each donning an ‘A’ as alternate captains for Cornell men’s hockey in the 2018-19 season, the team announced Thursday.

“Obviously, it’s on an honor, again, to be wearing the ‘C’,” Vanderlaan said at media availability Thursday evening. “We’re going to have a bunch of other great leaders around which will help a lot.”

Vanderlaan, who missed a chunk of the 2017-18 season due to injury, earns his second captainship after serving jointly last season with Alex Rauter ’18. Vanderlaan has been among the most powerful forces in the Red’s offense since arriving on East Hill in 2015-16, earning 67 points in his three seasons — good for second-most by a Cornell player in that time span.

“[Vanderlaan] is a great kid, and all we need him to do is just be himself,” said head coach Mike Schafer ’86. “He’s really really driven on and off the ice, he leaves nothing to chance as far as detail, he’s a great teammate, and we just need him to continue to do that and guys will follow him.”

Vanderlaan is the first Cornell player to serve as captain in consecutive seasons since John McCarron ’15 did so in his junior and senior seasons. Schafer cited Vanderlaan’s effort and leadership during the week leading up to games.

“From day one Mitch has … improved himself dramatically because he puts forth so much effort in what he does Monday through Thursday and then shows up Friday and Saturday. … And it doesn’t matter if we’re playing the No. 1 team in the country or the 59th-ranked team in the country — he plays the exact same way.”

The alternates McCrea and Nuttle are both blueliners that have played large roles in the Red’s defensive unit — the stingiest in the country last season with 1.57 goals allowed per game. Nuttle led the team in plus/minus at plus-23 and played in all 33 of Cornell’s games. For his part, McCrea played in all but one of the Red’s contests and was recognized as the ECAC’s best defensive defenseman at the end of the 2017-18 season.

“It’s … an honor to be [an alternate captain],” McCrea said. “I think the beautiful thing about our team is we have leadership throughout the classes with everyone, and as a D-corps we have a lot of returners now.”

The newly anointed leaders of a Cornell team that looks to capture a second-straight regular season title will get their first crack this weekend as the Red hosts Laurentian in an exhibition bout Saturday at 7 p.m. The season officially begins Oct. 26 with a two-game home set against Michigan State.