Junior forward Kyle Penney joins the historic ranks of past Cornell hockey captains and becomes the first non-senior captain since Morgan Barron ’21 during the 2019-20 season.
“It’s a great honor… It’s tough to put into words,” Penney said. “I know it means a lot to me and I’m really excited to help the team move forward this season.”
Penney is no stranger to the role, serving in a leadership capacity twice before his time at Cornell. While on the Kimball Union Academy hockey team, Penney served as captain in his final season after helping the school to three straight NEPSAC Elite 8 championships. Later, while playing with the Chilliwack Chiefs in the BCHL, he served as assistant captain and earned the team’s Most Dedicated Player Award.
Senior forward Gabriel Seger and junior forward Jack O’Leary will join Penney in the leadership group, serving as alternate captains.
Both Seger and O’Leary had breakout seasons last year, showing leadership on the ice as well. Seger, a transfer from Union, arrived at Lynah last season and didn’t miss a beat. Logging 30 points in 30 games, he became the first Cornell player to hit the 30-point mark in their first season since Riley Nash in the 2007-08 season. O’Leary also had a breakout season with a career-high 17 points and three multi-point games, including one against defending champions Denver in the regional semifinal of the NCAA Tournament. And following a four-point weekend against Ivy-rivals, Brown and Yale, O’Leary earned ECAC Forward of the Week honors.
Leading on and off the ice, the trio will look to lead a youthful Cornell team, with just two seniors and 17 underclassmen, including 10 new freshmen.
“We did have to start things off a little bit quicker with having a young team… but guys are coming along really quick,” Penney said. “I’m really happy with how the freshman class has really molded into our group so it’s been pretty easy sailing so far. I’m just looking forward to keeping that going.”
The Red finished last season with a 21-11-2 record (15-6-1 ECAC), clinched the Ivy title, earned a berth into the NCAA Tournament and found themselves just a game short of the Frozen Four.
“We hope to win championships. I mean that’s the goal every season obviously, especially at this program. We want to succeed and anything other than that is something we might see as a failure,” Penney said. “I hope that we’re going to lead a team back to the [NCAA] tournament and [go] hopefully farther than we went last year.”
Penney said the team is aiming towards securing another Ivy Championship and ECAC title as well.
“We’re shooting for the stars this year,” Penney said.