Kawaguchi named captain for UND Hockey
GRAND FORKS, N.D. (UND Athletics) - Returning Hobey Baker Award finalist Jordan Kawaguchi has been named the 2020-21 University of North Dakota hockey captain in a vote of his peers. Joining him in the leadership group are fellow senior and now two-time assistant captain Matt Kierstad, junior forward Jasper Weatherby, junior forward Mark Senden, and junior defenseman Jacob Bernard-Docker , who will all be assistant captains.
Kawaguchi led the team by example last season, sparking a resurgence with a breakout junior season that saw North Dakota hoist the NCHC’s Penrose Cup and amass an amazing 26-5-4 record and the top spot in the final NCAA PairWise Rankings. The Abbotsford, B.C., native recorded 45 points, second-most in the country, with 15 goals and 30 assists on his way to national player of the year honors from USCHO.com. He was an All-American by every national outlet and was the NCHC Forward of the Year in 2019-20. Kawaguchi paced the NCAA in game-winning points, scoring five game-winners and assisting on eight more. He helped UND to a sparkling 18-1 home record. Prior to coming to UND, Kawaguchi was a two-time captain for the Chilliwack Chiefs in the BCHL.
Kiersted was a All-NCHC Second Team performer on the blueline last year and an NCHC offensive Defenseman of the Year finalist. The co-winner of the UND Coaches’ Unsung Hero Award (along with Senden), the Elk River, Minn., product tallied six goals and 23 assists for 29 points, second-most on the team last season. His 29 points ranked third in the NCHC among defensemen and 11th in the nation.
Bernard-Docker piled up 25 points (7-18--25) in 32 games last season for UND. North Dakota was 14-1-2 when he registered a point. Part of a solid defensive corps, the Canmore, Alberta native led the team with 45 blocked shots and finished at +21 in plus/minus for the season, tied for third-best in the NCHC. He also helped Team Canada to a gold medal at the 2020 IHF World Junior Championships, scoring a goal and leading the Canadians in time on ice in the tournament. He is a first-round pick of the NHL’s Ottawa Senators (2018 NHL Entra Draft, pick 26).
Senden centered North Dakota’s shutdown line last season, often matching up against the opponent’s top line. The Medina, Minn., product played in all 35 games, collecting 11 points on five goals and six assists. UND was 7-1-0 when he factored into the scoring with a goal or an assist last season. Prior to UND, Senden also captained the Fargo Force to a USHL Clark Cup championship as well as captaining Wayzata to a Minnesota Class 2A state championship as a prep.
Weatherby more than tripled his offensive output last season, tallying 18 points (10-8--18) after just five points as a rookie. He became a real force in the faceoff dot, winning nearly 59 percent of his draws, ranking 20th in the NCAA among forwards with at least 50 draws taken. A fourth-round pick by the NHL’s San Jose Sharks in the 2018 draft, the Ashland, Ore., native previously was a BCHL Most Valuable Player, leading his Wenatchee Wild to a league championship.
This marks the first season since 2016-17 that UND has had more than three assistant captains and just the third in school history to make that claim. That ’16-17 team also had four (Brock Boeser, Austin Poganski, Tucker Poolman, Johnny Simonson) with the previous season’s five ((Drake Caggiula, Bryn Chyzyk, Paul LaDue, Colten St. Clair and Troy Stecher) steering North Dakota to its eighth and most-recent NCAA title in 2016.
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