SARATOGA SPRINGS — Mack Ogden, new appointed captain of the Blue Streaks ice hockey team, is a junior center on a mission to inspire his team and play hard and well. He has been on the team since he was a high school freshman and does not currently play any other sports, although Ogden is considering running track in the spring.
He became involved with hockey at age three after his mom, Michelle, a former figure skater, thought hockey would be a good way to get Mack and his older brother Zac on the ice while they were young.
While injuries are fairly regular in the NHL, Ogden has only ever bruised a rib.
Ogden plays hockey year-round. He also plays on the Troy-Albany Titans, a traveling team, and the Lake Lizards, a tournament team based out of Northern, New York. Some of his Blue Streak teammates are also on these teams with him, as well.
The Titans are state-bound this spring where they are competing in the tier one state championships.
Ogden was appointed captain by Coach Torres, along with senior Quinn Leffler.
“Well, Coach was going to decide who demonstrated all the qualities of a captain, like courage and leadership and stuff like that. Everybody has been saying how much I deserve it, all of the players on the team always said they’d be disappointed if I didn’t make captain,” Ogden explained.
Even so, he was a little surprised when Torres made his decision.
Ogden credits his ability to go 100 percent every time and leads by example as his best leadership qualities.
“When things are going bad, I try to lift everyone’s spirits and get them refocused on the game... I always tell them to brush it off and that next shift is a whole new shift and start with your next time on the ice and go as hard as you can. If you make a mistake, just make up for it with more hard work,” he said.
The team trains in the summer at 518Athletes and also attend a camp.
Like every athlete, Ogden’s favorite part of the game is winning, and least favorite part is losing.
“It feels really good to win but it also brings our school and community together. Plus being around all of the guys that I’ve known my whole life is the best part. I just want to see everybody come together and work hard, so we can get our first winning record since I’ve been on the team. I’d say we still have a couple of team things to work on, but we’ll be ready when the time comes,” Ogden stated.
Last year, Ogden’s brother joined the team for his senior year.
“It was awesome. Zac and I had never played together before last year and there’s not really anything like it. I made the team my freshman year and he didn’t as a junior, so to see him work hard and finally reach his goal as a senior and making the team and watching him play was so awesome,” he said.
Although the team hasn’t hit the ice for a game yet, Ogden says they can hardly wait to.
“We’re really excited, no one can wait to get on the ice for our first game. We’ve been working so hard over the summer, we just can’t wait to bring it all together and show everybody what we can do,” he explained.
Academically speaking, Ogden has also been successful, saying he’s been “fairly average, around the 90s.”
He plans to study radiology in college where he also wants to continue playing ice hockey.
“One of my best friends since I was really little, his mom passed away from brain and breast cancer last year and if I could do anything to help other families that are in that same position then that is more than an accomplishment,” he said.
Ogden credits his mom and brother as his biggest support system. “They really push me to do the best I can,” he said.
The Blue Streaks’ first non-league game takes place on Friday, November 30, against John Jay at 8 p.m. at Ice Hutch in Mt. Vernon.