Team's Top Scorer Becomes Ice Leader
NEW HAVEN, Conn. - The top scoring player on the most successful team in Yale hockey history has been named captain for the 2011-12 season. Brian O'Neill, a junior forward from Yardley, Pa., was voted by his teammates the leader for next year's squad.
"It's a great honor to be elected captain by my teammates. My class has gained a tremendous amount of experience since we arrived here on campus, and I believe we are fully prepared to lead the team as a class next year," said O'Neill, who had 20 goals and 45 points this winter.
The 117th captain in Yale hockey earned 2010-11 first-team All-ECAC honors after ranking 15th nationally with 1.28 points per game and 21st with .56 goals. O'Neill began the season with a three-goal, five point weekend in a pair of wins. His outstanding season included his first collegiate hat trick in a victory at Clarkson.
The 5-foot-9, 170-pound forward enters his senior campaign 12th at Yale in career points (117) and ninth in assists (69).
O'Neill, who is clearly a Hobey Baker candidate, combines great offensive skills with speed and ferocious hitting. It's seems obvious he does not need to be a vociferous leader to be successful.
"I lead by example and believe actions speak louder than words," said O'Neill, who helped the Bulldogs to a school-record 28 wins and a second straight NCAA Regional Final. "[Former captains] Jimmy [Martin], Ryan [Donald] and Matt [Nelson] all did a great job building relationships with every class. Our team has benefited from this, and my class and I will do the best we can to help the incoming class feel comfortable."
Yale's new on-ice leader will have a different constituency than the captains he played with. Nine players will graduate next month and Yale's largest class of newcomers in recent years matriculates this summer. That could make Yale fans wonder if the vision for the team changes.
"Nothing changes," said O'Neill. "Our goal is a national championship. We have an important summer ahead of us and we are all eager to get back after it in the fall. Our recent success has created high expectations for Yale Hockey and I wouldn't want it any other way. We are ready for the challenge and can't wait to compete for championships next year."
O'Neill, who has 48 career goals, has led the team in points the last two seasons after becoming the top freshman scorer in 2008-09 and making the College Hockey News All-Rookie Team.
filed by Steve Conn, Yale Sports Publicity Director