Sheehy Hoping to Lead Minnesota to Greater Heights
by Rachel Greenstein/CHN Reporter
April 24, Minnesota announced its captains for the upcoming season. Leon Bristedt and Mike Szmatula, both seniors-to-be, and sophomore-to-be Ryan Lindgren were named the three alternate captains for the upcoming season. The overall captaincy was handed to current sophomore Tyler Sheehy.
“They’re three guys I respect greatly along with everyone else, they give their all every day and care a lot about this program. They care a lot about this program, they’ll do everything they can to win next year,” Sheehy said of the three alternates. “I’m really looking forward to being in a leadership group with those guys.”
Since Sheehy’s opening season with the Gophers, he has shown impressive skill. As a freshman he notched 30 points, placing him fourth overall on the team and leading all newcomers. In that season alone he had eight multi-point games, four three-point games, and opened the scoring in the Gophers’ first game in the Big Ten Tournament — earning him MVP honors.
Sheehy’s freshman season set the bar high, but those lofty expectations proved to not be an issue. In his sophomore campaign, Sheehy set career highs with 53 points, 33 assists, 20 goals, and a plus/minus of plus-21. No one scored that many points for the Gophers in a single season since Ryan Potulny in 2005-06 (63). Sheehy’s impressive 53 points ranked him eighth nationally, while he tied for third in the nation with 19 multi-point games. The Big Ten Conference named Sheehy the Big Ten Player of the Year, and he also landed among the top ten finalists for the Hobey Baker Award.
Sheehy dreamed of reaching this level of success in a Minnesota sweater his entire life.
“"I grew up a Big Ten Gopher fan. I was able to watch them play on TV, I watched a bunch of great captains especially in the past few years with Justin Kloos and Kyle Rau,” Sheehy said.
Despite his personal accomplishments, Sheehy knows his team can still reach higher.
“In terms of play, I hope to lead but it’s not the most important goal,” said Sheehy. “The most important goal is to be national champions.”
Minnesota has fallen short of that goal recently, despite consistently making the NCAAs and winning league regular-season titles.
“I want to be the pump-up or energy guy, whatever it may be. I hope to carry out the same responsibility next year with the ‘C’ on my chest. Hopefully we can add more banners and hold trophies by the end of the year.”
He credits his success to the chemistry between his teammates and linemates, team resiliency, and great leadership.
“Going into the voting process I knew I wanted to be a leader,” Sheehy said. “When I found out I was going to be captain I was super excited and ready to go.”
Sheehy has a diverse background of captains from whom he can build his own leadership style: “I played under some really good leaders [Kloos, Connor Reilly, Jake Bischoff] who are all very different. ... Accountability, pride, and effort level is something I really want to make sure I'm doing next season.”
Now, trainers will stitch the “C” onto Sheehy’s sweater as the rising junior takes the torch from current captain Justin Kloos. Sheehy will continue the Golden Gophers’ tradition of success as he tries to lead the team to a championship.
“The past few years we haven’t been satisfied with our success, we have to win tournaments," Sheehy said. "It’s not enough for Gopher Hockey just to make it to the national tournament. We don’t want to be that group of guys not to carry the great tradition.
“As a captain I really want to get this program winning championships and going in the right direction, and I’m looking forward to leading towards it.”