2007 - Joe Roza
Joe and I started playing for Hib in the 2003-2004 season. Joe had played a year prior somewhere in the northeast - I was never totally sure, either New York or New Jersey. So, while we were both 'rookies' on the squad, he had a very polished skill-set, whereas most of the rest of us youngins were still figuring out the complexities of things like the flick.
Joe immediately established himself as a core player on the team with buttery throws, a propensity to get off his feet and a super friendly, laid-back demeanor - almost nothing could phase his game. He reminded me a lot of Nick Petraglia in that he was just such an inclusive friend and teammate on and off the field.
Not only was Joe incredibly skilled, but his likable personality made him, arguably, one of the most influential, culture-defining characters on the team for his entire four year duration. Other young guys (like myself) prided ourselves on 'throwing like Joe', with his extravagant fakes and crisp release.
Need a goofy, fun game to play while we wait for a tournament to start? Joe'll come up with something. Need a ridiculous ro-sham proposal? Joe's got limitless ideas. Need a big lay-out grab in the finals of High Tide? Joe's up to the task.
I had the pleasure of captaining with Joe for the 2007 season. I was a focused, analytical miscreant - stressing over every tiny detail from travel expenses to elaborate play calling systems (that never caught on). Joe was a perfect foil to that. He balanced out my hyper-focus with more of what he'd done the previous three years: a chill, laid-back attitude - cool in the face of tough game moments and enough levity to keep the team mentally strong throughout the season.
Joe never really played club during or after college (to my knowledge) - that wasn't really his thing and that was totally understandable. Regardless of that, he was hugely influential in making Hib the fun-loving, inclusive team that it is today and I'm honored to have gotten the chance to captain with him and to have known him as a friend.
Honorable Mention: Dan Roarty, Chris "DA" Cahill