Leadership. This single quality is what makes any captain great, whether it is in a professional setting, or a recreational activity, such as hockey. Being able to lead and lift others around them is what takes a great player and makes them elite. DHS hockey captain Issac Skinner has this kind of leadership, making the entire reigning champion DHS varsity hockey team more complete.
“He’s really good at communicating with people and helping them develop, like how to point out weaknesses and how to counteract those,” senior teammate Ryan Wintland said.
These kinds of qualities are important for everyone but are vastly more important for a captain. Skinner’s leadership on the team has allowed him to become team captain, officially being recognized on and off the ice for his compatibility and inclusiveness.
“It’s a combination of skills,” Wintland said. “Since the hockey team is such a younger crowd now, some of the seniors left and the team kind of needs to help develop those younger skills, because we’ll need them.”
Skinner’s success has helped him become a key contributor to the team, especially during games and practices. One trait stood above all others to former varsity head coach Richard Blasy.
Grit and leadership go hand in hand. Being consistent and working hard has an immense effect on the players and teammates around, and can really elevate a player to the next level. This is what Skinner does so well, he works hard and that speaks volumes.
“A lot of people think the best a leader is supposed to tell his teammates what to do, and it’s the exact opposite,” Blasy said. “It goes to show them what to do. And if that means picking up the pucks it’s doing the things that you know, if the captain can pick up pucks then anybody can pick up pucks, and clean up a locker room, and those little things. That’s what a good leader does. It’s the little things.”
Skinner has always been reliable as well, whether it is on the ice to tough it out, or off the ice when someone needs help. When the varsity hockey team lost 14 seniors this year, Skinner was one to step up, and this reliability didn’t go unnoticed by his teammates.
“He works hard,” Blasy said. “He doesn’t complain, and that’s got leadership written all over it. So it was last year’s team that voted him captain. It’s not this year’s team. It was last year’s team and you could easily know, it wasn’t a surprise. It wasn’t a surprise when last year’s team voted him Captain just because of the effort, and the time, and the patience that he put in. He fully deserved to.”
Patience is another key strength that Skinner has. In Skinner’s first year on the hockey team he saw little playing time, and that following year he did not get to play as much as he could have because of the very talented level of upperclassmen starters. This never seemed to phase Skinner though, as he kept staying determined, he kept playing with passion.
“I started as just a freshman, or someone who seems like a small guy,” Skinner said. “So, I feel like you have to earn everything you get. There’s really no reason to complain or ask for anything else because if you deserve it, you’ll get it. So it just takes time.”
Hockey has always been a part of Skinner’s life. From five years old, Skinner has been out on the ice, and has loved it ever since. Following the reputation of his father, and his older brother.
The varsity hockey team is at an interesting spot this year, coming off of a historic state championship run, but losing 14 seniors in the process. More than anything, Skinner wants people to be patient.
“We lost 14 seniors last year so obviously it looks like we’ve had a little bit of a slow start of course, but it’s gonna take time and my main goal is just to help develop,” Skinner said. “We’re a really young team so one of my main goals has helped develop all the kids and have them by the end of the year be a good team.”