McKade Webster ascended from Alternate Captain during the 2022-23 season to Captain ‘C’ for this season. Connor Caponi, Carter King, and Massimo Rizzo were named alternates. In the modern era, only Grant Arnold held the role for multiple years (2014-2016). Following Arnold, Will Butcher, Tariq Hammond, Colin Staub, Ian Mitchell, Kohen Olischefski, Cole Guttman, and Justin Lee held the prized designation.
Webster is a Senior forward from St. Louis, Missouri. He is a Tampa Bay Lightning 7th-Round draft pick and has been awarded numerous academic awards during his career. He played in 30 games last season tallying 6 goals and 8 assists for 14 points. Hockey, unlike many other sports that appoint stars, selects captains based on character – leadership skills, toughness, work ethic, respect, availability, and the ability to communicate effectively with coaches and teammates. The captain ‘C’ is one of Denver’s highest athletic honors.
Unlike most other North American sports, the team captain is usually not the best player on the team. Very frequently, the team captain is not the best skater, the best scorer, or the toughest guy on the team. As captain, Webster will be expected to navigate the ups and downs of a long collegiate hockey season by setting the example for this version of Pioneer hockey.
It is up to Webster to support team chemistry. If it is a question of the team’s best player(s) being bullied and harassed, the captain must step in and send a very physical message. If the team hits a flat spot, Webster will be expected to elevate the energy of the team. If the other team’s star is doing damage, then the captain must do all in his power to disrupt the momentum and shift the game in the Pioneer’s favor.
Some captains can handle this additional responsibility better than others. DU’s Will Butcher won the Hobey Baker award while guiding the Pioneers – but most DU captains perform their tasks in relative obscurity. Webster falls in the more traditional category as a non-star with an outstanding work ethic.
The standard for the University of Denver is always a top finish in the NCHC and an appearance at the NCAA Frozen Four. Webster will be expected to lead the team beginning this Saturday and Sunday at 7 pm MT in Fairbanks, Alaska as DU opens the season against the Alaska Nanooks.
Photo: Courtesy of Denver Athletics