By: Kelcee Kent (12/12/17)
The title of team captain can be a dauting and intimidating role. Wearing the “C” on your sweater is an unquestionable honor that comes with immense responsibility. Green Bay Gamblers defenseman, Jackson Charlesworth (20), fits the role well. His experience, presence on the ice and in the locker room, make the veteran defenseman the perfect fit in carrying on the prestigious tradition of those who have worn the “C” in Green Bay.
Prior to his senior year in high school, Charlesworth was drafted by the Coulee Region Chill, based in La Crosse, WI. Leaving home (2014-2015) proved to be tough transition, but he was thankful for being only hours away from his hometown of Antigo, WI. His two years in Coulee Region proved beneficial both as a player and as a person.
In 2016, he was drafted by the Gamblers in the USHL Entry Draft, and finalized his place on the team roster at the summer tryout camp.
“It was a big change coming from the NAHL.” Charlesworth said referring to his transition to the USHL. “Everything is faster here (USHL), and everyone is good, not just a few players. I knew it was a whole different mentality.”
In his first season (2016-2017) with the Gamblers, Charlesworth suited up for 57 games, totaling 15 points (1 goal, 14 assists.)
Back in Green Bay for his second season, Charlesworth was presented the captain “C” by his teammates and coaches. While the title of team captain can be a daunting and intimidating role, Charlesworth has handled the pressure gracefully. He exudes talent, responsibility, respect and sets an example for his teammates.
“Coming into the season, we had a strong core of returning leaders, and the players chose Jackson to be the head of the leadership group, as team captain. We were very comfortable with how that decision worked out,” said Gamblers Head coach Pat Mikesch.
Charlesworth himself has recognized the strength of his role and the role of the other returning leaders.
“It’s a huge honor, but it’s also a huge responsibility,” said Charlesworth “Being an example to all the other guys can be a lot sometimes, but the assistant captains have done a great job with helping, along with a lot of the older guys, and it all balances out” said Charlesworth.
By setting an example and bringing high energy to the rink every day, Charlesworth is able to harmonize the roles of being a hockey player and team captain.
“Being myself and being consistent with myself has kept me balanced. I want to make sure that I am not doing too much or too little in either role.”
Charlesworth attributes much of his hockey philosophies with his upbringing. Playing his youth hockey in the Junior Gamblers program, he is no stranger to the organization. When he eventually reached the high school level, Charlesworth played for his hometown of Antigo. The rural Wisconsin city, with a population just under 8,000, has been home to Charlesworth since middle school and has helped shape his hockey career.
“It’s a small town, where everyone knows each other, and that has built a ton of character in me,” said Charlesworth.
He also speaks highly of the tremendous support system he has behind him in his hometown.
“I couldn’t even tell you how much support I have back home. It has been incredible. Everyone stands behind one person who is succeeding. It’s a really cool feeling to have the whole town behind me, following me on the way of my journey.”
In true captain fashion, Charlesworth, who will begin his collegiate career in the fall at Northern Michigan University, aims to don the “C” at some point during his college career.
“My freshman year, I really want to be able to come in and produce right away, and be a guy that the coaching staff can depend on,” said Charlesworth. “Later in my college career, I would like to pick back up on my leadership role, and I would love to be a captain.”
But the goals do not stop there for Charlesworth who is ultimately striving to play at the next level.
By wearing the “C” for the Gamblers, Charlesworth joins an exclusive fraternity. Those who have come before him have raised the Stanley Cup, won college national titles and have succeeded in the public and private sectors. Given Charlesworth’s character, he only makes this list greater.