ASU men's hockey has the leadership to carry it to greater heights

Captains Dylan Hollman, Anthony Croston and Louie Rowe are ready to establish a winning culture

ASU men’s hockey is on the verge of its second full season as an NCAA Division I team. Last year, the team was focused on getting situated in its new playing atmosphere, but that has most certainly changed.

“We’re not a development team anymore, and we want to be the best. We have all the experience (and) the attitude,” redshirt junior right wing Louie Rowe said. "Our new guys are hungry coming in, so we’re not having any excuses this year. We want to be a ring team. We want to be respectable. We want to win at the end of the year.”

Rowe was named one of the team’s alternate captains last year and carries the same title this season. The same applies to junior centerman Anthony Croston, who received his “A” halfway through last season.

“We’ve always had a dedicated group of guys,” Croston said. “We’re always going to have that core group that’s going to be leading and showing guys the right way to do things.”

Croston, after being named an alternate last season, produced seven goals and nine assists compared to the one assist he had before being named a captain. 

He knew that he had to increase what he contributed to the team, and now his expectations for himself and the Sun Devils are even higher.

“We have a schedule that we could easily go .500 with, so our biggest thing is just winning the games that we know we should win,” Croston said. “So, if we do that, we’re definitely going to be a top-20 team in the nation. We definitely have all the skill and all the right guys to do it.”

Redshirt junior left wing Dylan Hollman, the longest tenured captain in team history, shares the sentiments of both Croston and Rowe. As the man with the “C,” he takes it upon himself to ensure ASU’s core leadership group is cohesive.

“I try to keep everybody on the same page,” Hollman said. “I try to stay as organized as possible and make sure we’re doing the right things to establish that winning culture. To me, as a leader, the team’s success is my success.”

Head coach Greg Powers established a theme when naming his captains – they all want ASU to develop into a top hockey program and earn the wins it is now capable of. However, much more went into Powers' decisions.

“They, all three, have that general theme that they’re always doing the right things,” Powers said. “The hope when you’re building a program is to get a group of guys to be your captains that always do the right things when you’re not watching. By osmosis, the guys pick it up and they start doing it, too.”

Moreover, he did not ignore what each of them contributed as individuals, and for his captain, it was all about integrity.

“He (Hollman) always does the right thing,” Powers said. “You never have to worry what Dylan Hollman is doing when you’re not watching. That’s how you define character – is when no one is watching you, and he exemplifies that in every way.”

When choosing Croston, Powers picked the Phoenix native for his unwavering work ethic.

“Nobody outworks him – he’s always prepared. He gives us whatever we need in whatever situation we need it. He thrives on that,” Powers said. “He’s a little bit more of a quiet leader. When he does speak, guys listen because he chooses his words very wisely and the spots to be vocal.” 

When it came to Rowe, Powers could not ignore how he leads with a sense of grit and how he pulls the best out of his teammates.

“Louie, out of the three, is probably the best at holding everybody accountable and pushing the envelope and getting more out of his teammates,” Powers said. “If you think you’re working, Louie tells you to work harder.”

All of their qualities combined has forged a leadership group capable of taking Sun Devil hockey into a new era of being the team that is expected to win.

“We’re going in there every time confident we’re going to win,” Rowe said. “There is no underdog – there is no, ‘well I hope they stay in the game’ ... We want to be the best. We want to be the number one, and that means we’ve got to beat every team we go into. Whether that’s realistic or not, that’s just the mindset we’re going to have.”

Reach the reporter at or follow @paige_burnell on Twitter.   

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