MADISON, Wis. – To be selected as captain by her peers meant a lot to Blayre Turnbull.
Going into her senior year with the Wisconsin Badgers women’s hockey team she expected to be a leader, but wasn’t necessarily expecting the ‘C’ on her chest.
Last year she was an assistant and finished second in scoring with 18 goals and 40 points in 38 games played.
Usually the decision on captains comes when the players return, but during the voting for the team’s year-end awards, such as top offensive player, they also voted on captains. She believes that the coaches made that decision with so many players staying at school for the summer. Turnbull said every player was able to vote for one person to be captain and two or three girls who deserved to be assistants.
She found out in May, but it wasn’t released publicly until July.
“It definitely feels great that they picked me, but I think the best part is knowing they respect me enough to be put in a leadership position for our whole team,” she said. “Even if I didn’t get named captain, as a senior I expected to play a leadership role of some sort.”
As with most who wear an ‘A’ or a ‘C,’ Turnbull said it won’t change anything on or off the ice. It also won’t change anything for assistants Karley Sylvester or Katarina Zgraja.
“I think we were voted as captains because of the way we handled ourselves on and off the ice in the past,” said Turnbull. “We will continue to play on the ice and handle ourselves off the ice the same as we have, so I don’t think it will change anything at all.”
Before Turnbull gets the opportunity to put the Badgers jersey on again she will attend the second Hockey Canada U-22 camp of the summer. She was unable to attend the first due to health problems, but on Aug. 8 she will be ready to go in Calgary.
“It means a lot that they still invited me to the second camp after having mono during the first camp and being unable to attend,” she said. “It’s kind of special for me to get invited since they never got to see me perform at the last camp. Obviously I’ve got a lot to prove and I have a lot of self-expectations, high expectations. I think staff at camp are expecting me to be at my best.”
Turnbull expects she will be at her best. After eight weeks off from training she has been back in the gym and on the ice consistently and feels better than she did when she finished the season.
“Fitness-wise I’m good to go, hockey-wise it might take a practice or two to get back to my usual level of play,” she said.
The camp will run until Aug. 17. The team will then be picked and those that make it will stay until the 24th. Team U.S.A. will travel to Calgary for that week to play three exhibition games with the U-22 squad.
On Twitter: @NGNewsChris