DUBUQUE, Iowa — The Dubuque Fighting Saints have named their leadership group for the 2018-19 season. The group, made up of five players, emerged during the course of the offseason and in to the preseason. The five are widely recognized by the entire team and staff as the leaders of the team.
“To single out one person in effect would be to take away from our culture and what we are trying to build which is an all-inclusive society,” Coach Oliver David said.
Knierim, who returns from college, embodies everything it means to be a leader and the team sees that. He returned to the Fighting Saints after two years away, but says he vividly remembers his time in Dubuque. “Willie feels this is a great opportunity that shouldn’t be wasted,” David said. “He has done everything you should do in the role he is in and has embraced it whole-heartedly.”
Sanchez, another returner from college, spoke highly of his experience at Michigan and how the leaders there influenced the team. Much like Knierim he emerged as a leader right away. “Right away, he stepped into the room and began building relationships and establishing the way we were going to operate this season,” David said.
Semik, a returner for the Fighting Saints, has been referred to by coach David as the backbone of the team. “He has been bought in since day one of 2017,” David said. “He is someone we have leaned on since the moment I returned to the team. He does things the right way and it is easy to see why he caught the attention of everyone through this process.”
Joining Knierim, Sanchez and Semik in the leadership group are J.D. Greenway and Aidan Fulp.
“[JD] Greenway’s past playing experiences are unique in the fact that he has already accomplished things that all of our players aspire to accomplish,” David said. “That said, he has displayed a deep desire to continue developing his game and has come here with an open mind and heart.” Greenway is the third and final player on the team returning from the college ranks and provides yet another level of experience.
Fulp, much like Semik, shows initiative and maturity beyond his years. “He’s soft spoken yet has the respect of everyone in the locker room because of the way he plays the game,” David said.
The group for the Fighting Saints will be looked at to lead the team throughout the season. However, as mentioned the idea is to promote inclusivity through the entire team.
“We think the health of this hockey team is in a great spot right now and these five are excited to keep it that way,” David said.