Sept. 29, 2008
Notre Dame, Ind. – Notre Dame hockey coach Jeff Jackson has announced his team captains for the 2008-09 season as the Irish look forward to their first official team practice on Saturday, Oct. 4. The team then opens the regular-season schedule on Saturday, Oct. 11 when the Irish travel to Denver, Colo., to participate in the Hall of Fame game against the University of Denver.
Senior Erik Condra (Livonia, Mich.) will serve as the team’s captain and will be joined by three alternate captains – senior Christian Hanson (Venetia, Pa.) and juniors Kyle Lawson (New Hudson, Mich.) and Ryan Thang (Edina, Minn.). Condra served as an alternate captain last season while the other three players will be in their first season as captains with the Irish.
In making the announcement, Jackson said, “This is a strong group of players that we’ve chosen to lead this year’s team. In all honesty, I believe our entire senior class, the first group that has been with our staff all four years, will be looked upon as an important part of the leadership of this team. By naming two juniors, we can develop players for leadership roles in the future.”
Condra begins his second season in a leadership role with the Irish. The talented senior has led Notre Dame in scoring in each of his first three seasons. As a junior, he scored 15 goals with 23 assists for 38 points with six goals coming on the power play, three short-handed and four game winners. An all-CCHA and All-American candidate as a senior, Condra currently ranks 33rd on Notre Dame’s all-time scoring list with 35 goals and 85 assists for 120 points. His 85 assists rank him 17th on the all-time assist list. He has bounced back from a knee injury that he suffered in game three of the CCHA playoffs last spring against Ferris State.
“Erik has had a big influence on the change in the culture of the program over the last three years,” said Jackson. “He’s got a passion and a maturity for the game. He leads by example both on and off the ice.”
Hanson has seen his game come a long way in his first three seasons at Notre Dame. Known for his outstanding checking and defensive skills, the 6-4, 226-pound center had a breakout season as a junior, scoring 13 goals with nine assists for 22 points. One of the top face-off men in the CCHA, Hanson won 60.3% of his draws a year ago and had an outstanding postseason, being named to the all-tournament team at the NCAA West Regional.
“Christian has come a long way over the last three years and I really believe that he is coming into his own in his development as a player,” said Jackson. “He’s learned to become a more consistent player and I think that can carry over to be an example for his teammates to follow.”
Junior defenseman Kyle Lawson will lead Notre Dame’s defense in 2008-09.
Lawson is one of top defensemen in the CCHA and the nation over his first two seasons and is a player who can deliver both on and off the ice. As a sophomore, he was an honorable mention all-CCHA selection after leading all Notre Dame defensemen in scoring with five goals and 21 assists for 26 points while being +13 for the season. An all-rookie team pick in 2006-07, Lawson will be the leader of the Irish defense in 2007-08.
“Kyle is another player who is heavily invested in the culture of our team,” said Jackson. “He lays it on the line everyday in practice and in games. He’s a real passionate kid who wears his heart on his sleeve.”
Junior left wing Ryan Thang will be counted on to lead the irish both on and off the ice this season.
Thang has developed into one of the CCHA’s top goal scorers in his first two seasons at Notre Dame. He led the Irish in goals with 18 last season and was second to Condra with 32 points. A prototypical power forward, the 6-0, 192-pound left wing scored seven power-play goals with two short-handed tallies and five game winners. In just two seasons, he’s accumulated 38 goals and 35 assists for 73 points to go with 17 power-play markers and 11 game winners. He, along with Lawson, was a 2006-07 CCHA all-rookie team selection.
“Ryan Thang has been one of the most committed athletes that we’ve had here. No one puts more detail into his training and improvement than Ryan,” said Jackson. “He’s a great example for our younger players to follow to hopefully develop more players with that mindset to work to improve their games.”
The four Notre Dame players will make their first appearances as captains on Monday, Oct. 6 at the team’s annual “Drop the Puck” reception that will be held at the Joyce Center beginning at 7:00 p.m. Current Anaheim Duck executive vice-president and general manager, Brian Burke, will serve as the guest speaker. The reception is free and open to all Irish hockey fans but they must RSVP for the “Drop The Puck” reception. To register online, go to alumni.nd.edu/dropthepuck08. Reservations also can be made by calling 574-631-9910 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.