Mystery Mavericks: Omaha Hockey Player Poll

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Jordan McAlpine
SPORTS EDITOR

The Mavericks gather around the net before their Feb. 5 win at North Dakota. Photo courtesy of North Dakota Athletics/Russ Hons.

Maverick fans get to see what happens on the ice. But have you ever wondered what sport each of the Mavericks are best at away from the rink? Who dresses the best on gameday? Who’s the best student? The best golfer? Who’s the funniest on the team? All of those are answered and more.

All 26 active members of the Omaha roster were polled by The Gateway over the last month. Each player was asked a series of 11 questions and allowed to answer anonymously, unless answering themselves.

The results are in, so get ready to laugh and find out who got the most votes in each category.

The best dressed on gameday: Taylor Ward

Photo courtesy of Omaha Athletics.

Final results: Isaiah Saville (20.5 votes), Chayse Primeau (3.5 votes), Joey Abate (1 vote), Nate Knoepke (1 vote).

In addition to leading the team in points and the country in power-play goals, Taylor Ward is leading the Mavericks in style on gameday. It’s safe to say the confidence isn’t lacking in that department either. 

“Me, 100%,” Ward said. “Next question.”

What initially started as a close race between Ward and Ty Mueller, the senior forward pulled away late and secured six of the final 13 votes.

“He usually pulls out some pretty interesting outfits,” said one player of Ward’s attire. “Definitely stuff I could never pull off.”

As for Mueller, multiple of his teammates acknowledged that the freshman forward ‘cleans up nice.’

“He’s got some pretty colorful suits,” said one player. “Not too crazy, but stylish. I like them.”

“Mueller does have some good suits,” added another. “He has a pink one I like. Not all of the time, but I’ll give it to him.”

Jimmy Glynn and Jonny Tychonick finished third and fourth respectively, while four others tied with one vote each. Austin Roden also picked up a half vote as the junior goaltender always shows up to the rink in a ‘nice and simple’ suit. As was the case with several categories, there was also the dilemma of not wanting to compliment teammates.

“I know a lot of people say Taylor Ward has a lot of good style, but I don’t want to give him the satisfaction and let it go to his head,” said one player. “So I’ll go with Savvy.”

Even without that vote, Ward holds the title in this one.

The best dance moves in the postgame celebration: Isaiah Saville

Photo courtesy of Omaha Athletics.

Final results: Isaiah Saville (20.5 votes), Chayse Primeau (3.5 votes), Joey Abate (1 vote), Nate Knoepke (1 vote).

When the Mavericks defeated Minnesota Duluth at home on Jan. 22 and won at North Dakota on Feb. 5, Isaiah Saville was dancing in the locker room in full gear. When you consider that dedication, the locker room has noticed, and it’s no surprise the junior goaltender ran away with this.

“I dance in my gear,” Saville said. “If that isn’t electric, I don’t know what is.”

Saville won by the most lopsided number of votes (17) in any of the categories.

“Savvy. That one’s easy,” said one player.

“Especially after that North Dakota win, he came in flying and that always gets us going,” added another one of Saville’s teammates. “Those two get pretty jacked up after a big win.”

Those two are Saville and Chayse Primeau, who finished in a distant second place. If hockey doesn’t work out for either one of them, there’s a consensus in the locker room that both could go viral. 

“He’s got some good Tik Tok dance moves,” said one player of Primeau’s dancing skill. 

“Preems, even though they’re not that good,” added another player who voted for Primeau.

Joey Abate and Nate Knoepke also each picked up a vote.

Always in the weight room: Jacob Zab

Photo courtesy of Omaha Athletics.

Final results: Jacob Zab (10 votes), Nolan Krenzen (7 votes), Brandon Scanlin (4.5 votes), Nolan Sullivan (2.5 votes), Matt Miller (1 vote), Victor Mancini (1 vote).

This one was up for debate and a lot of answers included multiple names. However, an unfamiliar name to some fans emerged and reeled off 10 of the 26 votes, including four of the last five. He might not see any game action this season, but make no mistake, Jacob Zab is making gains off the ice.

“He lives in the weight room,” said one player.

“That kid never leaves,” added another. “He’s working on Project Colossus right now with Mike Lewis and the kid’s just a monster.”

Project Colossus is a season-long workout program full of what multiple players described as ‘intense’ lifting. When training camp ended, most of the Mavericks stopped. However, Zab continued.

The photo above might not be the last time Zab is spotted walking down a runway either, as multiple players mentioned Zab could have a future career as a male model or bodybuilder.

“His full season is one giant lifting and training program,” said one player. “He’s at the rink early, then a full practice, and then he’s taking his time doing a really long, full workout. He loves to be in the gym.”

“He’s probably still there right now,” said another player a little after 7 p.m. one night. “I think he waits for everyone to leave and then he starts working out. Plus he’s slow, so he’s there until late.”

Nolan Krenzen finished second behind Zab, who actually voted for each other, and Brandon Scanlin was two votes behind Krenzen. Nolan Sullivan received 2.5 votes, while Matt Miller and Victor Mancini also picked up a vote.

One player put it best though.

“That’s tough. We’ve got a lot of guys on this team who are animals in the weight room.”

The most likely to be running late: Nate Knoepke

Photo courtesy of Omaha Athletics.

Final results: Nate Knoepke (7 votes), Nolan Sullivan (6 votes), Joey Abate (5 votes), Tyler Weiss (4 votes), Kaden Bohlsen (3 votes), Austin Roden (1 vote).

Knoepke was the ninth player questioned for this poll. At the time, he’d already heard rumblings that his name was in contention for this category.

“That’s such a joke,” Knoepke said.

Sorry Nate, your teammates have spoken. But it did end up being a close race.

“That’s Nate, no question,” said one player.

“I wouldn’t say he’s exactly running late, but he’s usually cutting it close,” added another. “Sully’s close, but I’ll still go with Nate though.”

Sully refers to Nolan Sullivan, who was a very close second with six votes. One of those votes came from Sullivan himself, who said he’s never late, but just always ‘right on time.’

Abate also made a late push and finished just one vote behind Sullivan. Tyler Weiss received four votes, Kaden Bohlsen picked up three, and Roden, who chose himself, rounded it out.

 The funniest on the team: Nate Knoepke

Photo courtesy of Omaha Athletics.

Final results: Nate Knoepke (10 votes), Joey Abate (9 votes), Chayse Primeau (3 votes), Tyler Weiss (2 votes), Isaiah Saville (1 vote), Anybody but Isaiah Saville (1 vote).

If it’s any consolation, Knoepke makes up for any lateness with his humor.

“He’s got some good jokes and he has all of the movie quotes locked down,” said one player.

“It’s Nate,” added another. “He’s funny all of the time.”

Knoepke and Abate were in a heated battle down the stretch, but the swing vote may have come from Knoepke himself.

“I have to give it to myself,” Knoepke said. “I think my performance with the movie quotes backs it up.”

Those movie quotes were referenced by several guys, so at the same time, Knoepke’s title is well-deserved. As for Abate, he’s put together a reputation as a comedian himself.

“He’s goofy. Actually, he’s just Joe. There’s no real way to describe it,” said one player.

Primeau came in third with three votes, one of which being his own. He received two more votes to back it up, but still finished in a distant third behind Knoepke and Abate.

“We have some pretty interesting characters, but Primeau has the one-liners down. I’ll give him that,” one player said.

Two of the other four votes were for Weiss, one for Saville, and one for anybody but Isaiah Saville, which was answered with Saville standing nearby. The junior goaltender walked away laughing.

The biggest prankster: Joey Abate

Photo courtesy of Omaha Athletics.

Final results: Joey Abate (16 votes), Nate Knoepke (3 votes), Tyler Weiss (3 votes), Davis Pennington (1 vote), Chayse Primeau (1 vote), Brandon Scanlin (1 vote), Jonny Tychonick (1 vote).

Although there haven’t been many pranks pulled this season, there is one person who would be a likely culprit.

“We don’t do a lot of pranks, but if anyone’s going to do it it’ll probably be me,” Abate said.

His teammates agreed.

“He’s one of those guys that you just sit there and laugh because you don’t know what’ll come out his mouth next or what he’s gonna do,” said one player.

“Joey always has something to say or something up his sleeve,” said another.

“I feel like a lot of these questions apply to him,” added another. “He’s probably the most animated guy on our team.”

However, Abate wasn’t the only person to nominate himself.

“I’m gonna give it to myself,” said freshman defenseman Davis Pennington. “Amongst the freshmen, I know I’ve successfully pulled off some good pranks in the dorms for sure.”

Weiss, who also voted himself, was tied with Knoepke with three votes each. Pennington, Primeau, Scanlin and Tychonick each picked up a vote too.

The best student: Martin Sundberg

Photo courtesy of Omaha Athletics.

Final results: Martin Sundberg (16 votes), Kirby Proctor (3 votes), Jack Randl (3 votes), Jason Smallidge (3 votes), Jimmy Glynn (1 vote).

Arguably the hardest part of this question was the guys not wanting to give each other credit, but there was a clear favorite. Martin Sundberg doesn’t take the student portion of student-athlete lightly as the Swede is working on his second master’s degree.

“Last year in the pod he ran out with his textbooks when the fire alarms went off,” said one player.

“He’s just a genius,” said another.

When informed he was running away with this category, the fifth-year forward’s face lit up with a smile from ear to ear.

“Oh that’s me for sure,” Sundberg said.

Kirby Proctor, Jack Randl and Jason Smallidge finished in a three-way tie for second with three votes each.

“He works really hard in school so he deserves the credit,” one player said of Smallidge.

“He’s a studier for sure,” another player said of Proctor.

Jimmy Glynn picked up the final vote, but it was Sundberg’s race to lose from the get-go.

The best pregame DJ: Martin Sundberg

Photo courtesy of Omaha Athletics.

Final results: Martin Sundberg (19 votes), Cameron Berg (2 votes), Kevin Conley (2 votes), Jonny Tychonick (2 votes), Nolan Sullivan (1 vote).

Behind Saville’s win in the vote for best dancer, this was the second-most lopsided category as Sundberg racked up 19 of the 26 votes. Sundberg handles the tunes before games along with Mavericks strength coach Mike Lewis.

“That’s easy. Marty and I have the same taste in music too, so he’s the best at it,” said one player.

“He’s the guy who controls our music, so I’ll go Marty,” said another player. “A lot of the same songs, but good songs.”

If you stand inside Baxter Arena 90 minutes before the opening faceoff, it’s probably one of few places in the world where you’ll hear If I Die Young by The Band Perry and Gives You Hell by The All-American Rejects blended together. Along with several other songs in the mashup that echoes throughout the concourse.

Big Bootie Mix Vol. 19 by Two Friends is the go-to playlist during pregame stretches. MDZ workout 75 by DJ MDZ, which Tychonick found, is played in the locker room before the team heads out to the ice for warmups. Tychonick, Kevin Conley and Cameron Berg all received two votes.

“I think Jonny found the mix for us and JT has pretty good taste in music,” said one player.

The other vote went to Sullivan, who nominated himself.

“I’ll go myself,” Sullivan said. “I’ve got the throwbacks, country — you name it.”

He wasn’t the only one who voted himself either, as Berg did the same.

“I don’t know if anyone else is saying that,” said another player upon hearing Berg’s answer. “He just hops on the aux when nobody else wants to, so that’s the only way he’s getting any votes on this.” 

The best golfer: Jonny Tychonick

Photo courtesy of Omaha Athletics.

Final results: Jonny Tychonick (11 votes), Brock Bremer (9 votes), Nate Knoepke (2 votes), Kaden Bohlsen (1 vote), Kevin Conley (1 vote), Isaiah Saville (1 vote), Brandon Scanlin (1 vote).

Get your popcorn ready. Of the questions asked, this one by far required the most thought and the jabs were flying.

“I don’t want to answer him, but it’s JT,” said one player. “He tries too hard.”

“He puts in the most work for it so I’ll give it to him,” said another player.

“I haven’t seen him myself, but I’ve heard JT’s a pretty good golfer, so I’ll give it to him,” added another. “Sorry, skip.”

Skip refers to Brock Bremer, the person Tychonick actually voted for and the person who finished in second place.

“I dedicate a lot of my life to golf, it’s one of my favorite sports, but we have a few good players here,” Tychonick said. “Skip is a good one.”

Bremer, a sophomore forward, voted himself. But he did receive eight other votes.

“It’s Brock, especially when he’s hot,” added another. “But when he’s not on, he might be down near the bottom.”

Knoepke came in third and four others picked up one vote each. One of those four went to Scanlin, who had quite the shot last summer.

“JT talks a huge game like he’s Tiger Woods in his prime out there, but I heard Scanny got a hole in one this summer,” said one of Scanlin’s teammates. “So I’ll go with Scanny.”

Scanlin was baffled to find out he received a vote but responded that he’ll ‘take it’ with a laugh.

The most likely to become famous: Jonny Tychonick

Photo courtesy of Omaha Athletics.

Final results: Jonny Tychonick (6 votes), Chayse Primeau (5.5 votes), Isaiah Saville (4 votes), Cameron Berg (2 votes), Nolan Sullivan (2 votes), Tyler Weiss (2 votes), Joey Abate (1.5 votes), Matt Miller (1 vote), Jason Smallidge (1 vote), Jacob Zab (1 vote).

In addition to being the team’s best golfer, several of Tychonick’s teammates feel the defenseman has the best chance to become famous off the ice.

“I could see him on a reality TV show,” said one player. “He’d be good on The Bachelor or Love Island or something.”

“That’s spot on,” said another. “I could see that for sure.”

“Yeah, I would love to see JT on one of those. He’s a ladies’ man,” added another, who proceeded to burst out laughing.

However, not everyone was on board with the Tychonick idea.

“I just don’t think he’d be a good actor,” said one player. “I could see either Savvy or Chayse getting famous on TikTok if they started making videos.”

Primeau was a very close second behind Tychonick.

“He’s just got something about him,“ one player said about Primeau. “I don’t know, but I could see him going viral for something crazy.”

Saville finished third based on his personality and his dancing potential. The rest of the answers were all over the board.

“Weisso will become a celebrity for some weird reason,” said one player. “He’s just so out there that he’ll pop up and do something to be famous.”

Miller received a vote as a future entrepreneur, Smallidge as a future CEO, Zab as a male model, while Sullivan and Abate also got votes. And then there’s Berg, who nominated himself and received one other vote.

“He’s gonna somehow date a supermodel or something,” said that other player. “I don’t know how, but I feel like he’s going to pull it off and prove that miracles do happen.”

Multi-sport athletes

Photo courtesy of Omaha Athletics.

Each player was also asked what sport they’re best at besides hockey. Here are the results:

Badminton: Matt Miller and Taylor Ward.

“I’m an average golfer, so I don’t want to say that because I need to be good at something,” Ward said.

Baseball: Joey Abate, Kevin Conley, Victor Mancini and Jack Randl.

“I always played in high school for our varsity team and maybe could’ve played somewhere if I didn’t stick with hockey,” Abate said.

Basketball: Tyler Weiss.

Football: Cameron Berg and Austin Roden.

Golf: Kaden Bohlsen, Brock Bremer, Jimmy Glynn, Nate Knoepke, Brannon McManus, Ty Mueller and Jonny Tychonick.

“I’m not the best, but I really like golf,” Glynn said. “I just go out there to have fun though. Drop a ball when you lose one and say you found it and stuff.”

Lacrosse: Davis Pennington.

Pickleball: Jason Smallidge and Martin Sundberg.

“I worked out with Zach Driscoll (UND goaltender) a couple times over the summer and he got me into pickleball,” Smallidge said. “When I started playing I was playing lefty because of my wrist, but it’s fun. It’s pretty addicting.”

Soccer: Chayse Primeau.

Spikeball: Nolan Sullivan.

Volleyball: Kirby Proctor and Isaiah Saville.

“I’m an elite sand volleyball player,” Saville said.

Weightlifting: Nolan Krenzen and Jacob Zab.

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