After three years of skating on Andover ice, Co-Captains David Belluche ’14, Michael Kim ’14 and Michael Lata ’14 look to lead the team to the playoffs this season. Something that no past captains have been able to accomplish in their Andover Boys Hockey careers.
With a record of 9-5-2, the team is well on its way to reaching its goal. The leadership and team unity promoted by the captains has played a huge factor in the teams success this far into the season.
“We have team dinners every night and spend the majority of our time together during the season. We do homework together, and odds are if you see one hockey player, one or two others are not far behind,” said Belluche.
Belluche is a day student from Andover, Mass., and has been an impactful player and leader since the moment he put on his blue jersey.
“Belluche is the most vocal leader in the locker room. He does a really good job of always trying to pick kids up and keeping things positive. He never lets us think we are better than we are, but also never let’s us get too down ourselves. He is a very supportive leader and does a great job of bringing our team together,” said Peter Bensen ’14.
Not only has Belluche worked to unify the team, but he is an active leader in both the locker room and on the ice.
“One thing David does well that makes the difference between being a good captain and a great captain is his ability to lead by example. He’s not always the one vocalizing the game plan, he just goes out there and gets it done, and everyone follows his lead,” said Payton Jancsy ’16.
Both Kim and Lata reside in Toronto, Canada and have been playing hockey from a very young age. The duo balance each other out well, as Lata pumps up the team, while Kim leads less vocally and more by example.
“Lata does a great job of bringing energy on the ice. He’ll be out there getting all of the boys fired up, but at the same time he keeps his composure and gets everybody mentally prepared to leave it all on the ice,” said Jancsy.
Lata’s skill set as a player has also been very influential and aided the team to many victories.
“Lata is our ‘clutch’ leader. You can always count on him to make a game-changing play. Whether it’s a goal, an assist, a big hit or a won battle along the wall, he steps up at the right time and gives us momentum,” added Bensen.
Kim is known for his consistent hard work at practice and on game day, and serves as a role model for the younger players.
“There is no one on the team [who] doesn’t look up to Kim. He works incredibly hard and leads by example. Although he doesn’t say much, when he says something, everyone listens up because he always has something good to say,” said Bensen.
After overcoming a few challenges and tough losses, the team is on the upswing, thanks to spectacular leadership from the three Co-Captains. “We lost to Exeter 7-1 first weekend back, and we responded really well to that by winning three of our next four games. I was especially proud of the way we picked ourselves up after this loss. We lost a lot of Seniors last year, and the new guys and underclassmen have come up and filled big roles,” said Lata.
The passion, motivation and unity that the captains demonstrate to the team is what has made its successes possible.
“My favorite part of hockey season is seeing these guys everyday after school at the rink. There’s just nothing better than doing things together as a team, whether it’s playing a game or catching a movie,” said Kim.
“What I love about hockey season is that no matter what’s happening in your life outside of hockey, whether your mom’s mad at you or you’re having school problems, it all goes away for that hour and a half of practice everyday,” said Belluche.