Cyclone Hockey: Meet the Captain

It's 6:15 a.m., most of Ames is asleep. But team captain, Matt McLin and his fellow Cyclones are getting their butts kicked at the Recreational Center by a former Navy SEAL. A few hours, 505 pushups and 200 plus sit ups later, the guys get a much needed break…in class.

Don't worry about them though; they understand it's what they need to do to win. What these work outs also do, perhaps unintentionally, is bring the team together. The man who holds that team together is the aforementioned McLin, or as his teammates call him, "Dad."


I'm sure the nickname has more to do with his fatherly nature towards teammates, but more than likely it has a lot to do with his appearance. McLin comes in at 6'4" and 225 pounds and looks to be in his mid thirties. When he hits the ice, most opponents will probably end up calling for their own dads.


He hails from Overland Park, Kansas and is currently a junior. He served as one of the alternate captains last season, a particularly high honor for a sophomore, but a well deserved one. Now he holds the most prestigious position in hockey. An honor he earned by representing what Cyclone Hockey is all about.


He works hard in practice, motivates teammates, and has a desire to win at all cost. McLin might be the captain, but he doesn't allow that to go to his head. 


When asked what it means to wear the captain's "C," McLin said, "It means that I need to be and expect myself to be perfect at everything; from making the right plays on the ice, giving it all in the weight room, to be a leader on and off the ice, and especially show respect at all times."


This explains his leadership style, and that is to lead by example. McLin knows what it takes to win. When he played junior hockey, his team went to back to back national championship games. He brings that winning attitude with him every time he's on the ice, in practice, or working out.


This attitude is not only important, but is required to get this team to another national title game. Along with that attitude, a certain hunger to win is needed. According to McLin, this team has it.


"As a whole the team is extremely hungry is win a championship, especially for the veterans who have never won it in their time here," McLin said.  "I think that we have the right chemistry to win it all, it's just a matter of having the heart and the will to play hard for the next 5 months for all 3 periods each and every single game."


So what about those early morning work outs recently implemented by Assistant Coach Dino Curcio? You would think they would wear on a student athlete over time, right?


"This is not my first time doing this workout so it is more or less just refreshing my mind on what I did when Coach Curcio was our strength and conditioning coach in Juniors, in which he did an amazing job there which helped us to consecutive national championship games." 


That answer is one of the many reasons McLin was awarded the distinguished honor of team captain. You have to do what it takes to win and he has absolutely no problem doing that. All he has to do is think back to what he calls "a humiliating loss" to archrival Illinois last season at the ACHA National Tournament. McLin is determined to not let that happen again.


In the end, McLin is just happy to be playing the sport he loves. To play for his school is an even bigger joy. "Playing college hockey has always been a dream of mine, and to play for a Big 12 school just makes it all that much better.  There aren't very many people who can truly call themselves an Iowa State Athlete, and to be one of those people out of the 26,000 people on campus is an honor," he said.



Cyclone Hockey News and Notes:


The #5 ranked Cyclones split with the #9 Arizona State Sun Devils last weekend winning Friday 7-4 and losing Saturday 3-5. Mike Murtaugh was named player of the week for the weekend of Oct. 13-14 after a 3 goal series. The Cyclones play the #10 ranked Oakland University Golden Grizzlies on Friday and Saturday night at 7:30.


You can catch all of the Cyclone Hockey action live via the internet! Check out for the link to our broadcast.


Coming Up Next Week: Junior Allen Raushel and his selection to Team USA for the World University Games in Turin, Italy.


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