Technically the role of Captain/Alternate Captain is limited to being the only player on the ice that is to communicate with officials. But for most teams throughout the league, it means more than that. A recent trend has been to assign the position of Captain to the face of their organization, almost as a sign of respect. A player that, in addition to performing on the ice, is willing to participate in community service and charity events, to be an ambassador for not only the team, but the league. The role of Alternate Captain however, almost always goes to a player like Tim Gleason, Jeff Daniels or Glen Wesley. Players that, while great in their own right, aren’t Sidney Crosby/Zach Parise types. They’re usually players that garner most of their respect within the walls of the locker room and on the ice by their teammates. This tradition has been carried out here in Carolina for years. That is, until now.
4 days ago Jordan Staal visited Raleigh to start his search for a new home. While in town, he also found some time to film a (horribly canned) statement to “Caniac Fans” and pick up his sweater. Outside of that, he hasn’t really done anything for our organization yet. So, imagine my surprise when, at the sweater presentation, I see on the upper left hand shoulder, sewn onto his brand new #11 Wolfpack Red jersey, the “A”. It would be more difficult to get an “A” in elementary school than what he’s had to do to earn the title since joining the club. I think it’s best to at least give the illusion that some of the other players on the roster had a chance at earning the distinction. Don’t some of the more tenured players at least deserve a chance at competing for it? Let it play out in training camp. Tell the players that the position is up for grabs and let them fight for it. Competition in training camp is never a bad thing. I’m sure Jordan would’ve won the coveted title anyway, after all he’s extremely well qualified to fill the role. Not to mention, there aren’t many players on the roster that would even fit the bill. But it’s not something to just be handed out like No Trade Clauses! Make him earn it. In the process, he will also earn the respect of his new teammates, which is what the title is intended to signify in the first place.