With the AHL season underway, it is important to get to know this iteration of the Iowa Wild. As is the case with minor league hockey, the names and faces change with regularity. That includes the captains of the team as well.
Heading into the 2022-23 season, the Wild announced their team captains for the season. Let’s take a closer look at the trio of alternate captains as well as the team’s captain heading into the campaign.
Steven Fogarty, Alternate Captain
Fogarty is the most experienced member of the group, entering his eighth season as a professional. This is his first season with the Minnesota organization, though he has had a leadership background all throughout his career.
It began when he was a captain with the Notre Dame Fighting Irish during the 2015-16 season, following three seasons playing for Edina High School in Minnesota. He became captain at the professional level for the first time with the Hartford Wolfpack in 2019-20, then again the following season as captain of the Rochester Americans for 2020-21.
Fogarty brings a unique mix of professional experience and leadership experience to the table that few players, not just those on the Wild, can match. For young players hoping to make the move throughout the system, Fogarty’s leadership will be invaluable to both them and the franchise alike.
Steven Fogarty's first goal as an Iowa Wild. Real nice work along the wall from Sammy Walker, who has been excellent in his first season of pro hockey
— Spoked Z (@SpokedZ) October 29, 2022
Joe Hicketts, Alternate Captain
The 26-year-old Hicketts is entering his seventh season in the professional ranks and his second as a member of the Iowa Wild. He had a promising year in 2021-22, leading Iowa defensemen and finishing second in the postseason AHL scoring 12 points.
Hicketts also has experience winning at the professional and international levels. He won a gold medal in the World Junior Championships in 2014-15 with Canada, following that up with a Calder Cup championship as a member of the Grand Rapids Griffins during the 2016-17 season.
His game is also suited for leadership. In addition to his experience, which is hard to top both on the roster and beyond, he plays an underdog role on the ice. His smaller frame puts him in a challenging position, though he overcomes it through his tenacious skating ability and offensive prowess.
A veteran of the roster, Hicketts will play an important role both on and off the ice for Iowa during the 2021-22 season.
The Iowa Wild today announced Steven Fogarty, Joe Hicketts, Mason Shaw, and Dakota Mermis as team captains for the 2022-23 season.
Shaw will serve as the team captain, and Fogarty, Hicketts, and Mermis will serve as alternate captains.
Way to go fellas! #mnwild pic.twitter.com/pKVDAUXrM1
— MNW Young Guns (@mnwprospects) October 12, 2022
Dakota Mermis, Alternate Captain
The final alternate captain, Mermis is entering his third season as a member of the Iowa roster and his eighth total professional campaign. Mermis is a leader in every sense of the word, both on and off the ice.
No bigger sign of his leadership was shown than his winning the Yanick Dupre Memorial Award, going to the Person of the Year in the AHL. He won the award thanks to his many contributions to the greater Des Moines community throughout the season.
On top of that, Mermis has an extensive history of serving as a member of captain committees. He was an alternate captain for the Tuscon Roadrunners back in the 2017-18 season before ultimately being promoted into the captaincy the following season. When he left Tuscon for the Binghamton Senators in 2019-20, he again served as an alternate captain.
Our very own @dmermis06 is this year's AHL winner of the Yanick Dupré Memorial Award. This award is given to the player who best represents himself and his team in the community each year.
There is no one more deserving than Dakota, so join us in congratulating him!
— Iowa Wild (@IAWild) May 12, 2022
Mason Shaw, Captain
Shaw, the 23-year-old entering his sixth season as a professional (all with Iowa) became a bright spot during the 2021-22 season. Shawn, after struggling with injury for the bulk of his career, finally managed to break out in a big way.
He would finish the season third on the team in goals with 22 while also setting a career-best mark with 52 points. It was an important season for Shaw, seeing the former fourth-round pick (97th overall in 2017) earn his first call-up, making his NHL debut on Dec. 9, 2021.
What is interesting is that Shaw has already been called up to the big club again early in the 2022-23 campaign. His first game came back on October 17, and he has since appeared in eight games for Minnesota since then. He has contributed a pair of goals and assists in that time, averaging between 10 and 15 minutes of ice time per night.
If Shaw sticks with the big club for the remainder of the season, the leadership will fall on Fogarty, Hicketts, and Mermis to pick up the slack. There is no doubt that leadership is in good hands for this campaign.
Mason Shaw’s 2022 Journey:
10/9: Put on waivers after excellent camp
10/10: Clears waivers
10/12: Named Captain of Iowa Wild
10/16: Recalled to #mnwild
10/30: Records first NHL goal
11/1: Promoted to 2nd line
11/15: Promoted to full-time NHLer and switches to jersey #15 pic.twitter.com/OuYBAXfAQk
— Brett Marshall 🎊 (@B_Marsh92) November 15, 2022
The Leadership is Strong
The good news for Iowa is that they are in good leadership hands, even with Shaw off to the NHL for the time being.
All three alternate captains have either served as alternates or team captains before, allowing them to provide the proper level of leadership needed to take the club to another level on and off the ice.
“There’s a lot of fight in the room. We know what we have and we’re getting better every day.”
— Iowa Wild (@IAWild) November 21, 2022