AUBURN — Mack Pelletier is in a class of his own, at least as it pertains to the St. Dominic Academy boys’ hockey team.
Pelletier isn’t just the Saints’ only captain, he’s the only senior on the roster.
“I knew at the end of last season I was going to be one of few. I didn’t know I was going to be the only one,” Pelletier said. “Basically the first day of the season when I figured that out.”
Pelletier said it was a little bit of a shock when he realized he was the only senior on the team. Head coach Bob Parker said it must be a little weird for Pelletier.
That just means Pelletier has even more of a responsibility to set an example for the Saints’ younger players, which is all of them.
“He’s got a younger brother and a younger sister, so he’s a nurturing type. He can handle these young kids,” Parker said. “He knows how it feels. He was one of them a few years ago.”
“Just kind of lead the way by example, what I say. Just try and push them the right way and get them to do what we need to do,” Pelletier said. “Just kind of showing them the way, what to do, the kind of effort to put in, and what you say to other players — encouragement and keeping the team morale high.”
Pelletier said he doesn’t feel any pressure to be the team’s leader. The Saints may be young, but they’re talented. Pelletier said everyone on the team has shown leadership in different ways.
“We just tell them ‘just watch Macky, watch Macky, learn from his ways, his habits out there, his tendencies, and his work ethic,'” Parker said. “His work ethic is just fabulous, incredible.”
Parker likened Pelletier as a player to the Boston Bruins’ Patrice Bergeron, who is an associate captain and the team’s longest-tenured player.
“He may not show up on the game sheets all the time, but he does all the little stuff. All the little stuff that colleges and the next level look for in a player,” Parker said. “To me he’s a complete high school hockey player.”
Pelletier showed up on the scoresheet in each of the team’s first two games, scoring once in a season-opening loss and twice in a win over Class A South contender Biddeford.
The team’s next two games are something Pelletier said he can learn from. He didn’t accrue a point in a tie against Falmouth, but was ejected at the very end when a skirmish followed a scoreless overtime. That forced him to sit out a win over Kennebunk/Wells.
“It was definitely a bummer going into that game, knowing I couldn’t play, being my senior year,” Pelletier said. “But it’s just one game, it’s gone now, so be ready to get back in it.
“It can be (a lesson for everybody). Just keep our cool, and just play calm in the next game. Forget about what happened and just kind of move on.”
It should be easy for Pelletier and the Saints to move on. They next play cross-city rival Edward Little, then open the new year against Lewiston in a game that was originally scheduled for this past Saturday.
Parker said he hasn’t had to lean on Pelletier much yet this early in the season, but he expects he will as the action heats up and the Saints try to make a playoff run.
That is Pelletier’s goal, too.
“I want to make playoffs, and I want to help (the younger kids) improve as much as they can,” Pelletier said.
Pelletier said he also is trying to help the team’s young core prepare for the future, knowing that what the team learns this year under the help of his guidance will only help them when in the coming years.
Parker said he is appreciative of what his captain is doing seemingly all by himself.
“He’s just doing a great job, and I have total faith in his capabilities of managing these kids,” Parker said.
St. Dom’s senior Mack Pelletier takes the ice prior to practice in Auburn. (Daryn Slover/Sun Journal)
St. Dom’s senior Mack Pelletier. (Daryn Slover/Sun Journal)