EAST LANSING - Michigan State hockey head coach Danton Cole announced on Thursday (May 18) the team captains for the 2017-18 season. Junior Mason Appleton will serve as team captain, while senior Carson Gatt, junior Brennan Sanford and sophomore Sam Saliba were elected assistant captains.
“The four men elected by their teammates are hard workers and set a great example for the rest of the team,” Cole said. “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.
“Mason is a very intense competitor and has a drive to excel, which is contagious. We look forward to working with him as a leader and a young man next season. I was impressed with his demeanor in the spring and can see why his teammates voted him captain.”
Appleton will be the 72nd captain in program history. Last season, he produced a career-best 31 points, with 12 goals and 19 assists, leading MSU in all three categories. The versatile forward led MSU with seven power-play goals and averaged a point-per-game over the final 12 contests of the season. The native of Green Bay, Wisconsin, was voted Team MVP as well as the winner of the Spartans’ Outstanding Offensive Player award.
In 72-career games, Appleton has 53 points (17g, 36a). He is a 2015 sixth-round draft pick of the Winnipeg Jets.
“Being named captain is an absolute honor to me,” Appleton said. “I’m excited to lead this team every single day. We are looking forward to a summer of hard work and can’t wait for the start of next season.”
Gatt developed into one of the conference’s best defensemen last season as he garnered honorable mention All-Big Ten accolades. He was voted the Spartans’ Outstanding Defensive Player and Most Improved Player in 2016-17 and compiled a career-best 12 points.
Gatt is the Spartans’ most experienced defenseman returning in 2017-18, having appeared in 97-career games.
Sanford was the winner of the Spartan Fitness Award last season. The 6-foot-1 forward from East Lansing has appeared in 35 games in each of his first two seasons, contributing 19 points (8g, 11a).
Saliba ranked third on the team with 18 points as a freshman last season, while his 10 goals were second most. The native of Lincolnshire, Illinois, saw his production increase as the season went on, having produced nine goals over the final 15 games.
Saliba’s .515 faceoff winning percentage was third-best among the Big Ten’s rookie centermen.