Raboin proving to be a leader for St. Cloud State's hockey team
Leadership is a precious commodity that every coach looks for on a team. Success often hinges on the ability to find the right person to lead in the locker room and on the ice.
Over the past three seasons, St. Cloud State University men's hockey coach Bob Motzko and the Huskies have benefited from the presence of one of those unique players who's unassuming leadership abilities have been a driving force behind SCSU's success.
"Garrett Raboin is one of the best leaders I have ever been around," said Motzko, who has been coaching at the junior and college levels since 1986.
"He is an over-achiever and a warrior of a competitor on the ice."
A junior blueliner from Detroit Lakes, Raboin begins his second season with a letter on his sweater at SCSU.
As a sophomore, Raboin was selected as an alternate captain by the Huskies and this season he was named the squad's captain.
These types of team leadership roles are often reserved for the squad's seniors, but Raboin has emerged as a leader for the Huskies through his hard work and inspired play.
"Garrett is definitely the type of captain who leads by example," Motzko said.
SCSU assistant coach Eric Rud, who earned WCHA Defensive Player of the Year honors during his collegiate career at Colorado College, added his insight into Raboin's contributions at SCSU.
"The guys respect him on and off the ice," Rud said. "There is not a phony bone in his body, and our guys respect that and they really respond to the way he leads this team.
"Garrett is a competitor and leader back there on defense for us. He really wills has way to get things done. He is not a pretty defender but he just gets the job done for us on defense."
As one might expect, Raboin is not one to play up his accomplishments and he is quick to deflect praise to his teammates and the University.
"To be named a captain has been a big honor for me...and to be able serve as a team captain at a university like St. Cloud State makes it that much more special," Raboin said. "Playing beside the guys on this team has been a great experience."
Raboin does not have a secret formula for his position as team captain, instead he prefers to let his work on-ice serve as an example.
"In some ways, being a team captain has been a pretty simple task for me,"
Raboin said. "I just continue to play and do the things like I did before I had a letter on my uniform.
"I just try to play hard...I don't think it would be natural for me to talk a lot as a team captain, and the guys wouldn't buy into it either."
Raboin's rise as a leader on the team reflects his growth as a defender on SCSU's blueline.
As a rookie fresh from a stint with the Lincoln Stars of the USHL, Raboin notched seven assists with a +3 ranking on the plus/minus.
His numbers continued to rise during his sophomore season with his first collegiate goal being scored in a victory over Wisconsin on March 1, 2008.
He finished the 2007-08 season with three goals and 16 assists - a reflection of things to come.
As a junior, Raboin has charted career numbers with eight goals and 20 assists in games played through Feb. 10.
He has already gained eight multi-point games this season and this includes two three-assist efforts against WCHA rivals Wisconsin and Alaska Anchorage.
Raboin has been a pivotal player on the SCSU power play this season, and his defensive work has helped the Huskies outscore their opponents by more than 20 goals this season.
To complete the package, Raboin has consistently ranked among the squad's leaders on the all-important plus/minus ranking. He currently leads the team at +11 this season.
Motzko points to veteran status in the league and his great will and determination as reasons for his production increase this season. Raboin doesn't get too caught up in the numbers game.
"A lot of the credit for my points this year has to go to my teammates,"
Raboin said. "I just get the puck to those guys and they do the rest.
"I just come to the rink every week and try to hone my skills. I try not to look at that stuff (statistics). In the past, I never had big numbers, so it was kind of a waste of time for me to be concerned about that...I just didn't pay that much attention to it."
Raboin's approach to the game certainly was formed by his experience growing up in Detroit Lakes.
The son of Bruce and Amy Raboin, Garrett Raboin had the unique opportunity to play high school hockey for his dad at Detroit Lakes H.S., where he was a three-sport athlete in hockey, football and golf.
A 2003 graduate of DLHS, Raboin enjoyed his prep experience and served as a team captain for the Lakers' hockey team as a junior and senior.
He also helped DLHS win a state football title as a running back during his junior season.
"I had a chance to play for a lot of good coaches in Detroit Lakes while I was growing up, and I was glad that I was able to spend my senior year there with my friends and teammates," Raboin said.
In addition to being one of his prep coaches, Garrett Raboin's dad also played collegiate hockey at Providence and played professionally in Europe.
"My dad has been the biggest influence on my career," Garrett Raboin said. "He taught me the right way to play the game, and he has always been an advocate of playing the game to enjoy it.
"My dad has been through it and he really knows how much fun and special it is to play college hockey. He has taught me to love the game and enjoy every moment of it."
(Article by Tom Nelson, St. Cloud State Athletic Media Relations.)