New captain makes an example of himself
Tyler MacArthur was an obvious choice to wear the captain’s C for the St. Catharines Falcons.
The 20-year-old Collingwood native has been a huge addition, both on the ice and in the dressing room, since joining the team from the Barrie Colts.
MacArthur has four goals and 12 points in his 17 games with the Falcons, but more importantly, has brought stability to the blueline and a quiet and respectful manner in the dressing room.
Falcons general manger/coach Frank Girhiny appreciates what MacArthur brings to the table.
“First and foremost, it’s the way he presents himself. The respect he garners from his peers and his demeanour,” Girhiny said when asked about the choice of MacArthur as captain. “He’s quiet, but he’s an ultra-fierce competitor. He’s the kind of guy who is going to display his leadership by his actions and he’s not afraid to speak up.
“It’s how he communicates with us coaches and how he plays against opponents and talks to the referees, plus the experience he has.”
Falcons coach Dan Fitzgerald loves the example MacArthur has set.
“He brings people along with him. He’s hungry for success but he wants success as much for his teammates as for himself,” Fitzgerald said.
MacArthur, who has four years of experience at the Ontario Hockey League level with the Owen Sound Attack and Barrie Colts, along with half a season in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, takes the appointment seriously.
“I was honoured and it’s a privilege to wear the C,” he said. “I don’t really want to change too much. I just want to continue to be the person I am and play the way I’ve played and just lead by example.”
MacArthur, who was quick to give credit to his parents, said his professional approach can also be traced back to his experience playing major junior.
“I learned all that playing in Owen Sound and Charlottetown. I was fortune enough to play for some great organizations and great coaches and learned from them.
“I think the best thing I admire in the captains I had — I’ve been fortunate enough to have some great captains — is leading by example and watching them in their preparation every day and the way they show up to the rink every day is the biggest thing. It sort of becomes contagious for the team so that’s what you have to do.”
The Falcons began the season with former OHL player Michael Davies as captain with Tanner Ferreira, Dante Copps and Lucas Smilksy as the alternates.
But in early November the organization made a change and took the letters off all of the players.
The move worked as the club got back on track and Girhiny admitted he wasn’t sure if another captain was going to be named this season.
“We weren’t too sure. It was wait and see and once we got Tyler here and we watched how he presented himself as a player and as a Falcon, the coaching staff could really see he had some good attributes and traits to be the captain,” he said.
Fitzgerald said the move was exactly what the team needed.
“When you make a decision like that, sometimes you’re not quite sure how it’s going to be received but when you have quality young men with strong character, they handled it in the absolute best way they could,” Fitzgerald said. “It benefited them and the team.”
The move really wasn’t as drastic as it seemed, Fitzgerald said.
“It might look like it from the outside but really it was a reset for everybody,” he said. “It enabled those guys to get back to what they love which is playing hockey. They didn’t have to worry about the external things. We were going through a little bit of a rough patch and it alleviated some stress. It was a good thing.”
“I think we’re all confident in our abilities and in this team and doing the little reset and with all the trades we made, it sort of became this is our team now. We’re one and we’re going to make a big run,” he said.
The Falcons have an important weekend coming up with a home game versus Niagara Falls Friday and a return engagement with the Canucks Sunday at 3 p.m at the Gale Centre. The Falcons trail the Canucks by one point for third place with a pair of games in hand. They are three points in arrears of Ancaster for second with a game in hand.
“This is what we live for,” MacArthur said. “It gets down to the nitty gritty. The playoffs come around and it’s go time every second you’re at the rink. You have to be firing on all cylinders and that’s what we’re going be trying to do.”
The Falcons are 2-0 since loading up at the trade deadline with five new players.
“There’s a lot of newness on the team and the guys are excited. They’re gelling and they understand what our culture is and they’re buying in. It’s a really good vibe in practices and in games,” Girhiny said.