BEMIDJI -- Incoming senior Ethan Somoza will don the “C” for the Bemidji State men’s hockey team this upcoming season. Somoza will serve as team captain for the 2020-21 season, the BSU coaching staff announced Tuesday.

A native of Simi Valley, Calif., Somoza is believed to be the first Californian to captain the Beavers. He is the 58th captain in program history, a lineage that began with Ed Johnson, Bemidji State’s first captain in the 1947-48 season and most recently included 2019-20 captains Adam Brady and Tommy Muck.

Alternate captains will be chosen by team members when they return for the upcoming season.

“Ethan is a natural-born leader that does the right thing on and off the ice,” head coach Tom Serratore said in a news release. “He leads by example but also understands when his voice is needed in the locker room. He has had the good fortune of learning this role from some great leaders during his time at BSU, so there is no doubt that he is ready to be our captain.”

Somoza served as an alternate captain in 2019-20. As a junior, Somoza totaled a career-high 18 points (6g-12a) to finish eighth on the team. His six goals were also a single-season best, and his 12 assists were nearly double his previous career high.

Playing on the wing, Somoza tallied 15 points (5g-10a) in WCHA play last season, while also contributing on the Beavers’ special teams units. For his collegiate career, Somoza has racked up 36 points (12g-24a) in 104 games over three seasons.

“I can’t think of a better person for the task than Somoza,” former co-captain Muck said in the release. “He is one of the hardest working guys on the ice, off the ice, in the weight room and in all aspects of his life. He takes care of business and has a great voice in the room.

“He took a lot of weight off our shoulders last year as seniors and captains.”

“He comes to the rink every day ready to work and makes everyone around him better,” Brady added. “He is an unbelievable human being, who would do anything for anyone in that locker room and will do what it takes to win.

“Ethan understands the process and what goes into winning and the hard work and sacrifices a team must have. He is a guy that anyone would want to go to battle with.“

Bemidji State loses seniors Brady, Muck and Hampus Sjödahl to graduation, while Charlie Combs and Henry Johnson have departed for Michigan State and Mercyhurst, respectively, as graduate transfers.

BSU is set to return 22 players, including All-WCHA selections Zach Driscoll, Owen Sillinger and Elias Rosén.

The Beavers finished 22-10-5 last season and had advanced to the WCHA semifinals before the remainder of the season was canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Bemidji State is scheduled to open the 2020-21 season Oct. 3 in Minneapolis for a single game against Minnesota. BSU will host North Dakota in the home opener at the Sanford Center Oct. 9, the first game of a home-and-home series.

More information on season ticket renewal and sales, as well as single-game pricing, will be available in June.