The Sherwood Park Crusaders have seen a shuffle in the locker room and Blair Mulder has stepped up to the captain’s plate.
With this year’s captain Eric Liknes out with internal injuries, 20-year-old defenceman Mulder has been asked to bear the captain’s C.
It’s still early into the 60-game season, with the Cru holding a record of 11-7-1 over 19 games, putting them in third place. However, Mulder is confident the team can only improve from here.
“We’re starting out slow, just trying to figure out the systems and stuff, and I mean, right now it’s a little rocky, but we all have high hopes and high expectations of what we want to achieve at the end of the year,” he said. “I think if we keep working hard, we’ll get closer to that goal.”
From head coach and general manager Tim Fragle’s point of view, Mulder is the man to help lead the team along that path.
“He just does everything that our coaching staff wants on a daily basis,” he said. “He’s one of our most focused guys, a hard-working guy, a good team guy, he’s really physical on the ice. He’s a 20 year old, so he’s got some experience in the league, as well. He’s just got the whole package and is a really good overall leader for us, but he’s also a really good contributor on the ice.”
This season may have been questionable for the Cru at the start, but the team has proven itself a powerhouse in this year’s North Division.
“We lost a couple of key players in Jessi Hilton and Peter Quenneville,” Mulder said. “They both had some threats for us, but depth-wise, I think we’re deeper, especially on defence. It’s huge having Tommy (goalie Matt Tomkins) coming back, too. We’ve got a lot of skilled forwards, and we just need to find the right combos.”
Being a leader on the team hasn’t added pressure to Mulder’s mind, as he looks to the entire team to step up its game.
“I’ve got to bring my game just (like) everybody else,” he said. “We all have jobs and we all want to keep our jobs. If I don’t bring it, I don’t think of myself in any sort of higher position than anybody else. I’ve got to play just as good as everyone else should.”