VANCOUVER (SPORTSNET 650) –The Vancouver Canucks opened their 2019-20 schedule with a 3-2 loss to the Edmonton Oilers and they did so without a captain.
By the time the Canucks step on the ice for their home opener, though, they will have a player donning the ‘C’ as head coach Travis Green said earlier this week.
Canucks owner Francesco Aquilini was a guest on Sportsnet 650 on Thursday where he was asked about his team, the leadership in the dressing room and the looming captaincy announcement.
“We’re seeing from last year some leadership emerge from the group and that’s really the focal point,” Aquilini said. “Somebody’s who’s a captain for the first time doesn’t know how to be a captain, until they are a captain. So, captains are guys that take responsibility. It’s a great honour.
“They’re the first guys that hold the Stanley Cup when they win the Stanley Cup. They’re the guys that have to communicate to the media and to the fans when things are not going well, so it’s a big responsibility. Jim [Benning] and Travis felt this was the time that someone should step up and take on that role.”
The first Canucks home game is on Oct. 9 against the Los Angeles Kings.
Aquilini referenced L.A.’s Stanley Cup-winning teams from 2012 and 2014 that boasted a strong leadership core. Dustin Brown might have donned the captaincy but that team also relied heavily on veterans Anze Kopitar, Drew Doughty, Jeff Carter, Mike Richards, Willie Mitchell, Justin Williams and Jarret Stoll among others.
“That’s what we’re hoping for. We’re hoping for not just one person but a whole group of guys to emerge,” Aquilini said. “Really, to succeed, I think you’ve got have like five captains on a team. I mean, just because one person wears the ‘C’ doesn’t mean that the others don’t’ provide leadership that’s needed.”
Bo Horvat, Alex Edler, Chris Tanev and Brandon Sutter were named Vancouver’s alternate captains earlier in the week, although it still remains unclear which player will be named captain.
“It’s probably the worst-kept secret in town but I’m not going to let the cat out of the bag,” Aquilini added.
The Canucks haven’t had a captain since Henrik Sedin retired at the conclusion of the 2017-18 season.