Sible embraces leadership role

By Korey Peterson

Being on top is always a nice feeling.

After scoring four goals in the NIU hockey home opener, junior center Mike Sible sits among the league leaders for goals in the American Collegiate Hockey Association.

After leading the team in that category last season as well, Sible is hoping for more than the 22 goals he netted as a sophomore. His efforts made him the new president of the club and also earned him an ‘A’ on his jersey, designating him an assistant captain of the team.

Head coach Greg Chromy has been impressed with his top-line center both on the ice and off.

“He goes out there, never quits and gives 110 percent,” Chromy said. “He’s also not afraid to pump the guys up. He leads not only verbally but by example, too.”

The accounting major from Huntley almost never made it to the collegiate hockey ranks after a knee operation in the summer of 2007 threatened to cut into his playing days. It had been over a year without skating when he hit the ice again to try out for NIU in the fall of 2008, subsequently scoring 17 goals as a freshman.

“I was always told I was a great skater and fast before the operation,” Sible said. “I am regaining the strength in my knee and I am getting that extra wheel back.”

While Sible was kept off the ice by the injury, he never stopped being a student of the game and increasing his hockey knowledge.

“He is a two-way player and works hard on both ends of the ice,” Chromy said. “He understands the game, is very knowledgeable and that is why he is a leader.”

Sible admits that his leadership qualities didn’t emerge until recently.

“When I came in as a freshman, I was very quiet,” he said. “This year, it was time for me to step up. I take a lot of pride in leading by example.”

After beating the Marquette goaltender four times in one game, Sible felt the pressure and could not find the back of the net in the second meeting between the teams the next day.

“Scoring four goals feels really good,” Sible said. “But the next game it was in the back of my mind that I needed to score and that definitely affected my play.”