Lake Zurich girl, 10, earns captain’s patch on boys hockey team
Lake Zurich 10-year-old Madison Zack is captain of the Ice Dogs hockey team. | Photos courtesy Caroline Curry
Updated: April 22, 2013 2:49PM
LAKE ZURICH — Nominating Madison Zack to be captain of the Ice Dogs hockey team proved to be an easy choice for her all-male teammates.
That’s why Coach Jason Wright said he was initially taken aback by the attention the Lake Zurich 10-year-old got from Chicago area television and radio media when they found out she was the first girl captain of the all-boys hockey team.
“This is my fourth year coaching her, and when I saw that she was selected by her teammates, it wasn’t shocking,” Wright said. “It was organic. It made sense.
Coach said Zack has always been a natural leader on the Glacier Ice Arena team from Vernon Hills.
Zack, currently a fourth-grader at Isaac Fox Elementary School, said she was surprised when she found out she was selected to be captain last October.
The captain’s role appears to fit; Zack said she’s committed to bringing a strong work ethic and a desire to help others.
“I want to work hard and play against kids that are better than me,” Zack said. “As long as you are competitive, you can do anything.”
Wright added that the team thought she was a good fit because she’s a fierce competitor, disciplined and puts the team first.
Though playing for a girl’s hockey team was an option when she first began playing, Zack said she wanted to play with boys because she was comfortable with them and felt that it would give her more of the challenge she was looking for.
“She’s always played with boys; gender was a never a factor,” Wright said. “We allowed the kids to vote based on the criteria that we felt made a good captain ... a lot of it was based on work ethic and passion for the sport, and it was clear that she had all of those qualities.”
Zack said her interest in hockey was sparked at three years old, when she watched her cousin play in Wisconsin. She eventually learned how to skate when she was four and joined a hockey team when she was six.
The professional player she looks up to the most is Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Duncan Keith because he gives “100 percent all the time,” and isn’t afraid to go “body on body” with another player. Zack isn’t either.
She also looks up to Mark Johnson, the coach for the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s women’s ice hockey team. One of her goals is to play for him in college.
Her other goals include playing in the Olympics and being one of the first girls to play in the NHL.
“She is a fierce, fierce competitor,” coach Wright said. “She is dedicated to the sport.”
If she doesn’t ultimately play hockey professionally, Zack said she would want to be a first-grade teacher.
“My aunt has three kids that I absolutely love; they are all very adorable, have different personalities and I love playing with them,” Zack said. “They’re why I think I’d want to be a teacher.”