Mark Senden remains UND's captain; four players to wear an 'A'
Ethan Frisch and Gavin Hain will again serve as alternate captains, while Judd Caulfield and Riese Gaber will wear letters for the first time at UND.
GRAND FORKS — Mark Senden captained his high school and junior teams to championships.
He'll get one more crack at doing it at the college level.
Senden, a fifth-year senior forward, will once again wear the 'C' this season for UND.
The Wayzata, Minn., product will be joined in UND's leadership group by alternate captains Gavin Hain, Ethan Frisch, Judd Caulfield and Riese Gaber.
Hain, a fifth-year senior forward, and Frisch, a fourth-year senior defenseman, also were alternate captains last season. Caulfield, a fourth-year senior forward, and Gaber, a junior forward, will wear letters for the first time at UND.
Senden will be the seventh two-year captain at UND since 1980, joining Colton Poolman (2018-20), Gage Ausmus (2015-17), Chay Genoway (2009-11), Dane Litke (1995-97), Dave Hakstol (1990-92) and Scott Sandelin (1984-86).
More notably, Senden will be the first player in UND hockey history to wear a captain's letter for three years. He wore an 'A' in 2019-20 before taking over the captaincy.
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Senden and Hain both opted to use their free COVID-impacted year of eligibility to come back for a fifth season, becoming the first five-year players at UND since Chay Genoway, who used a medical redshirt in 2010-11.
"You have year-end meetings and you want to go over the year, review each and every player one-on-one," UND coach Brad Berry said. "In talking to Senden and Hain, they have a special feeling with this program. They want to continue their pro careers at a time, but due to COVID and Hain, due to his injury, they both wanted to come back one more year. For us, that was outstanding to know we have very impactful players in the lineup every night that want to come back for a fifth year — and part of that is the impeccable leadership qualities they have."
Senden, who captained Wayzata to its first Minnesota state boys hockey title and the Fargo Force to their first United States Hockey League Clark Cup, has played in 131 games at UND. He's tallied 56 points.
Hain, a Philadelphia Flyers draft pick from Grand Rapids, Minn., suffered a season-ending knee injury in early January, but has recovered and is a full participant in UND's fall skates.
Frisch, of Moorhead, is the reigning National Collegiate Hockey Conference Defensive Defenseman of the Year winner. Frisch also has given UND an offensive boost, scoring nine goals from the blue line last season.
"He would have been our captain if Senden and Hain moved on," Berry said.
UND announced one captain and four alternates last season. Two of the alternates left. Jasper Weatherby signed with the San Jose Sharks just before the start of last season and Jake Sanderson signed with the Ottawa Senators at the end of the season.
UND's returning players voted on their replacements. Caulfield and Gaber were the leading vote-getters.
Caulfield, a Pittsburgh Penguins draft pick, will join a long list of Grand Forks natives to wear a captain's letter at UND. The most recent have been Johnny Simonson, Paul LaDue, Mario Lamoureux, Jake Marto, Andy Schneider and Jeff Panzer.
Gaber, of Gilbert Plains, Man., is the lone junior with a captain's letter. He last wore a letter in junior hockey with the Dubuque Fighting Saints, where he had an 'A' and sometimes filled in as the 'C.'
"The players have a pulse on who are the guys they look up to — not only on the ice but off the ice," Berry said. "That goes back to when Dean Blais was here and we carry that through today. The players have a voice in who the leaders are. The coaching staff does, too. I'd say 99.9 percent of the time, the coaches are in agreement of what the players are thinking."
UND hosts the University of Manitoba in a preseason exhibition on Oct. 1 before opening the regular season against Holy Cross on Oct. 7-8 in Ralph Engelstad Arena.
The Fighting Hawks have won the Penrose Cup as NCHC regular-season champions three years in a row.
"We're bringing in four freshmen and three transfers," Berry said. "When you're bringing in new guys, it's nice having leaders who know our culture and our identity of how we play."