High School Team Captains Unite at 14th Annual “Captains Night”

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NEWARK, NJ — With great power comes great responsibility.

captain (noun) cap·​tain |ˈkap-tən | a military leader; the commander of a unit or a body of troops; one who leads or supervises such as a leader of a sports team

On Friday, Oct. 25, the New Jersey Devils, in association with RWJ Barnabas Health and JAG-One Physical Therapy, welcomed over 200 high school captains from over 100 teams to Prudential Center for the 14th Annual “Captains Night” in a celebration of grass roots ice hockey in the Garden State.

The marquee event, which signifies the start of 2019-20 NJSIAA high school season in New Jersey, continues to be among the most highly anticipated events of the year, state-wide.

“It is a true honor, honestly, being selected to come back here. It’s such an amazing experience, especially coming back after winning it last year — it gives me the chills,” Morris Knolls’ team captain Jason Moskowitz, who helped lead the Golden Eagles to the NJSIAA Public A crown last season, said. “Props to the New Jersey Devils — they do a lot for high school teams and we appreciate it a lot. This brings back so many good memories, I remember everything like it was yesterday.”

(Jeff Auger/New Jersey Devils)

The team captains were treated to a special night of hockey beginning with an opening address from Devils’ alumnus Grant Marshall and Kenny Daneyko.

“You see all the kids here and you see the excitement — we all want to get back and get the hockey going again,” Marshall, a veteran of 11 NHL seasons who won Stanley Cups with the Devils and Dallas Stars, said. “For me, I was always excited about playing, that kid inside of me, it didn’t matter what level from my paperweight days as an 8 or 9-year old to playing as a professional and winning a Stanley Cup. The summer is over, we had a good summer, but it’s time to get back and we can’t wait to start playing hockey again.

“For these captains, “Captains Night,” the leadership, you want the guys to look up to you and follow your lead,” Marshall said. “Strong character — being the guy to help out your teammates, the guys next to you… That was the way I was brought up, the guy I wanted to be and I think these guys know and understand that — not just in the game but in real-world, being a leader — they’re ahead of the game.”

(Jeff Auger/New Jersey Devils)

Brothers Tom and Nikita Pryymak, who won back-to-back NJSIAA titles at Summit, are gearing up for a run at a third.

“It definitely looks cool out on the ice with all our different jerseys on,” Tom, who recorded a goal and an assist in the Hilltoppers’ triumph over Chatham, said. “Brings back a lot of memories being back here. It’s cool to walk behind the scenes, look around and walk out onto NHL ice, to go out there again in front of all these fans — it’s just a great experience.”

Robbie Greenleaf was part of Don Bosco Prep’s first state title in school history last winter when his Gordon Conference team defeated 13-time and defending state champion, Delbarton, 3-1, on March 4 at Prudential Center.

“We have a lot of shoes to fill this season — definitely looking to get back,” Greenleaf said. “Spent the summer in the weight room, looking to get a little bigger, looking to get ready for the season — we’re working towards that. We’re definitely looking forward to the season, it’s going to be a fun one.”

(Jeff Auger/New Jersey Devils)

Kaitlin Skorzewski and Anna Bajak were on hand for Morristown-Beard, representing one of a number of girls teams in attendance including Princeton, Randolph, Summit, Westfield and Newark East Side.

“It’s really cool to see everybody who loves hockey in one area and to represent their schools in front of such a big crowd is amazing,” Skorzewski said. “It’s really inspiring. I can’t think of any other team doing it and being a part of it makes it 100 times better.”

“Captains Night,” which began in 2006, is a celebration of the beginning of the high school ice hockey season and represents the common hope amongst all participants to return to Prudential Center in March to compete for a State Championship.

In addition, the Devils sponsor the High School Player of the Month Program, awarded December through March, and Jersey Sports Zone’s Top Five Goals of the Month. The team also awards a State boys and girls Player of the Year. Recipients are invited to a Devils game featuring a pre-game meet-and-greet with a Devils player and dinner at Prudential Center Restaurant.

Related: High School Team Captains Honored at 13th Annual “Captains Night”

Pat Dowds came up from Toms River, leading a strong surge north from the Shore Conference.

“It’s insane,” Dowds said. “My brother, Ryan, was a team captain two years ago and I remember seeing pictures of him with all his friends out there, and now we’re here — it’s crazy, it’s awesome and it’s nice to see everybody under one roof. We’re all wearing different jerseys, but tonight we’re on the same team.”

“It shows the growth of the game in New Jersey,” Marshall added. “Not long ago there were 20-30 teams and now to see 100 teams, 200 team captains is wonderful to see. The love of the game is great and the Devils are a big part of that as role models.”

(J.C. Hageny/HockeyClan)

2019-20 HIGH SCHOOL TEAM CAPTAINS

Bayonne — Justin Evanecky, Anthony O’Brien
Bergen Catholic — Nicholas Chiurazzi, Nicholas Stoebling
Bernards — Nick Emmons, Tyler Wong
Brick Memorial — Trent Burton, Mark McDermitt
Brick Township — Dave Malaniak, Zach Rozell
Bridgewater-Raritan — Corey Bertola, Ben Matton-Conover
Central Regional — Dan Klutkoski, Anthony Mastriano
Chatham — Declan Curry, Ryan Sordillo
Clifton — Jaden Fortuna, Vincent Petriella


Cranford — Luke Pachkowski, Christian Wilde
Christian Brothers Academy — Kyle Contessa, Gio Crepaldi
Delbarton — JR Cagnassola, Mark Darakjy
Don Bosco Prep — Robbie Greenleaf
Edison Township — Jakob Cherry, Christian Osma
Fair Lawn — Mark Berry, Ethan Childs
Freehold Township — Thomas Gubitosa
Freehold/Raritan/Colts Neck — Joe Barone
Gill St. Bernard’s — Brenen Lavoie, Ed McCarthy
Glen Rock — Aiden Mountain, Tate Whelan
Governor Livingston — Kyle Cook


High Point-Wallkill Valley — Tai Ruvo, Cooper Williams
Hillsborough — Michael LoRicco, Jason Wolff
Hopewell Valley — Ethan Block, Trent Demers
Howell-Matawan — Daniel McEvoy, Bernard Vitale
Hunterdon Central — Dylan Bender, William Chanlam
Jackson Memorial — Matt Mezina, Cooper Simon
Johnson — Nick Galati, Mike Midrano
Jonathan Dayton — Nick Facchini
Kearny-North Arlington-Secaucus — Greg Dreftko, John Maurin
Kinnelon — Tim Hausler, Chris Kosco
Lakeland — Matt Coiley, Nick Crouch
Livingston — Dylan Flaherty, Dylan Foley


Madison — Liam Fry, Alvin Rhee
Mahwah — Austin Ferraioli, Nik Uva
Manalapan — Connor Freedman, Brian Hawk
Manasquan/Point Pleasant Beach — Jake Brown, Luke McNamara
Marlboro — Dante Balsamo, Anthony Galante
Mendham — Ryan Bruin, Sean Mason
Middletown North — Jesse Dickinson
Middletown South — Sean Asaro, Demitri Forand
Millburn — Ryan Potechin, Matt Riskin
Monroe — Vincent Foresta, Gleb Veremyev
Monville — Danny Shine, Matt Szwagulinski
Morris Catholic — Aldino Guadagnino, Nick Leyhan
Morris Knolls — James Betz, Jason Moskowitz
Morristown-Beard — DJ Layden, Tommy Matthews
Morristown-Beard Girls — Anna Bajak, Kaitlin Skorzewski


Mount Olive-Hopatcong-Hackettstown — Ian Deiling, Jarrett Luciani
Newark East Side — Francisco Henriques, Filipe Marques
Newark East Side Girls — Yasmin DeSiqueira, Nadine Ragu
Newton/Lenape Valley — Joey Baty, Mike Smith
Northern Highlands — Aidan Connolly, Jack Sparago
Nottingham — Trevor Bolton, Connor Luckie
Nutley/Columbia — Justin Devlin, Johnny Matrona
Ocean Township — Richard Canneto, Scott Sirianni
Oratory Prep — Jeffery Jarvis
Paramus Catholic — Brendan Caroll, Frankie Smith
Paramus — Jonathon Berko, Eric Colmenares


Park Regional — Tyler Cross, Michael Shauger
Parsippany Regional — Suveer Singh, Jake Weiss
Pascack Valley — Michael Donofrio, Neven Grubic
Pennsauken — Angel Garcia, Zachary Martin
Pingry — Ryan Bush, Joe Faccone
Pope John — Alex Blaszak, Drew Buchanan
Princeton — Rocco Salvato, Aidan Trainor
Princeton Girls — Olivia Benevento, Victoria Zammit
Ramapo — William Neal, Joseph Vocca
Ramsey — Tyler Botta, Joe Koons


Randolph — Michael Sofia, JT Zangara
Randolph Girls — Lauren Sieber, Rebecca Tieman
Ridge — Marcus Fabiunke, John Giuliano
Ridgewood — Davis Flusche, Mason Schick
Robbinsville/Allentown — Jeremy Van Duren
Roxbury — Kyle Jenkins, Kevin Keane
Rumson-Fair Haven — Rowan Goldin, Jack Spagnuola
St. Joseph (Metuchen) — Mark Borek, Mike Murray
St. Joseph (Montvale) — James DeVito, Dean Tobin


Scotch Plains-Fanwood — Ryan Lamberta, David Lenart
Seton Hall Prep — Kyle Bishop, Timothy O’Connell
Sparta-Jefferson — Alex Cohen, Logan Hanek
St John Vianney — AJ Micalizzi, Dominic Troisi
St. Peter’s Prep — James Ashe, Aidan Seborowski
Summit — Tom Pryymak, Nikita Pryymak
Summit Girls — Lily Neilan, Emily Sharpe
Tenafly — Tommy Cohen, Jack Naidrich
Toms River North — Paul Fiorello, Joe Lembo, Pat Dowds
Toms River South-East — Mark Bish, Casey Jacoby
Vernon — TJ Santaita, Carlie Van Tassel
Verona/Glen Ridge — Aidan Brennan, Alec Vecchione


Wallkill Valley/High Point — Tai Ruvo, Cooper Williams
Watchung Hills — Michael Ciampa, Peter Messineo
Wayne — Nick Miller, David Smeriglio
West Essex/James Caldwell — Dylan Huff, Dominic Sedicino
West Milford-Pequannock — Nik Johansson, Joe Pedicone
West Morris — Angelo Palome, Kyle Rowe
West Orange — Lucio Maffei, Shawn Sandels
Westfield — Dylan Howard, Trevor Tanella
Westfield Girls — Maddie Katz, Maddie McDevitt

 

 

Written by John Christian Hageny / @JCCSPORTS 

Special to HockeyClan

 

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