Oct. 2, 2006
Notre Dame, Ind. – Notre Dame hockey coach Jeff Jackson has named his captains for the 2006-07 season as the team continues to prepare for the Friday, Oct. 6 preseason tilt versus the University of Windsor at the Joyce Center. Game time for the lone preseason tune-up is 7:35 p.m.
Senior right wing T.J. Jindra (Faribault, Minn.) was selected as the team’s captain for the second-consecutive season. He becomes the 14th player in the history of the Notre Dame hockey program to serve two seasons as team captain and the first since Evan Nielsen `03 who handled the duties from 2001-03.
Jindra will be joined by three alternate captains – senior center Jason Paige (Saginaw, Mich.), who has been selected as an alternate captain in each of the last three years – and senior defensemen Wes O’Neill (Essex, Ont.) and Tom Sawatske (Duluth, Minn.). O’Neill and Sawatske will serve as alternates for the first time in their careers.
Senior defenseman Tom Sawatske was selected as one of Notre Dame’s three alternate captains for the 2006-07 season.
In making the announcement, Jackson said, “Leadership of our team is in good hands with the group of players that we’ve chosen for this season. T.J. (Jindra) and Jason (Paige) do a great job and are in their second year with me and they know what is expected of everyone. Wes O’Neill is a vocal guy that his teammates look up to because of his ability and Tom Sawatske is the best conditioned and hardest-working player both this summer and in the fall training camp. They are guys that the rest of the team looks up to.”
He added, “I really expect all of our seniors to be leaders. Josh Sciba is a leader; Noah Babin’s a leader and so are David Brown and Mike Bartlett. All of our seniors will be heavily involved in leading the team this year.”
Jindra is one of the Central Collegiate Hockey Association’s (CCHA) top defensive forwards and penalty killers and was named as Jackson’s first captain prior to the start of last season. In 32 games, the accountancy major had two goals and six assists for eight points. He has played in 109 career games at Notre Dame with 10 goals and 17 assists for 27 points.
Paige returns for his third season wearing the “A” of an alternate captain. The rugged forward is among the CCHA’s top face-off men and teams with Jindra to give Notre Dame two of the league’s top penalty-killing forwards. The veteran center did not miss a game in 2005-06, playing in 36 games with four goals and one assist. For his career, Paige has played in 112 games with 18 goals and 10 assists. Following last season, he was named to the CCHA’s Scholar-Athlete team and was winner of the team’s Notre Dame Club of St. Joseph Valley Rockne Student-Athlete Award for his work in the classroom.
O’Neill returns for his senior season and ranks among the top defensemen in the CCHA. As a junior, he finished fourth on the team in scoring with six goals and 19 assists for 25 points to finish seventh among CCHA defensemen in scoring and 19th among all defensemen in the nation. The winner of Notre Dame’s William Donald Nyrop Award as the team’s top defensive player, O’Neill has played in 112 career games with 14 goals and 43 assists for 57 points. Ten of his 14 goals have come on the power play. He was drafted in the fourth round of the 2004 NHL Entry Draft by the New York Islanders.
Sawatske is in his second season at Notre Dame after transferring from Wisconsin and spending a year with the Lincoln Stars of the USHL in 2004-05. A solid, stay-at-home defenseman, Sawatske played in 32 games as a junior with two goals and two assists for four points. He had an even +/- on the year and teams with O’Neill and Babin to give the Irish three senior defensemen this season.