It has been a busy couple weeks for the Spartan hockey team and new head coach Danton Cole.
On Thursday, after a Twitter tease in the morning, the MSU Hockey Twitter account announced that junior Mason Appleton had been named as team captain for the upcoming season. Senior Carson Gatt, junior Brennan Sanford and sophomore Sam Saliba will serve as alternate captains.
“The four men elected by their teammates are hard workers and set a great example for the rest of the team,” Cole said in a press release. “A lot will be required of them next season, from both returning Spartan Hockey players and incoming freshmen. The right mindset is integral in what we want to accomplish and these four will help us to achieve that every day.”
Appleton expressed his appreciation for being named the 72nd captain in school history.
— Mason Appleton (@MTAppleton) May 18, 2017
This season will also mark the first time since the 2013-14 season that MSU’s captain will arguably be its most skilled player. Appleton led all freshmen in scoring during the 2015-16 campaign. Since then, he has developed into one of MSU’s most consistent forwards. He led the Spartans in scoring last season with a 12-19-31 scoring line and has been a fixture on Michigan State’s first line.
On the recruiting trail, Cole and company have been searching for several players to come in and assist the Spartans next season.
They already received a commitment from 20-year-old Austin Kamer in early May. Kamer, a forward from Grand Rapids, plays for the Lone Star Brahmas of the North American Hockey League. The team recently won the league championship on May 14.
Kamer, described as a smart hockey player by his coach, notched 43 points (17 goals, 26 assists) in 57 games last season. He will likely come in as a physical third- or fourth-line player for the Spartans next year.
Kamer was an alternate captain with the Brahmas this past season.
Sources also indicate that MSU is actively pursuing Bailey Conger, a forward for the Waterloo Black Hawks of the United States Hockey League. Conger, a 6-foot, 196-pound 20 year old from Boise, Idaho, is one of the more skilled players in the USHL still uncommitted.
Conger had a breakout season with Waterloo, putting up a 42-point season (17 goals, 25 assists) in 59 games. He was a point-per-game contributor in the postseason.
Conger’s size and skillset hint at him being a top-six forward for Michigan State. If the Spartans can land him, it would not only be a great start for the new staff, but Conger would also add some insulation to the top six should Appleton decide to turn pro after his junior season.
The Spartans are currently battling Providence College and Minnesota-Duluth for Conger’s services.
Keep your eyes and ears tuned to Impact Sports for all the latest Spartan hockey news.