A new player will don the C on his sweater for the Checkers, but it’s a familiar name for fans.
Zac Dalpe has been named the seventh captain in franchise history ahead of the start of the 2021-22 season.
“It’s an easy decision,” said Head Coach Geordie Kinnear. “We’re looking for a guy who brings everyone close together as a family and Zac’s the guy.”
The 31-year-old has 11 pro seasons under his belt, including a three-season stint with Charlotte from 2010-13. Dalpe has logged 536 pro games over his career, with over 150 of those coming at the NHL level.
“He’s a natural leader,” said Kinnear. “He sticks out, he brings energy every single day to the rink and leads by example.”
Joining Dalpe in the leadership group are Cale Fleury, Aleksi Heponiemi, Max McCormick and Gustav Olofsson, who will serve as a rotating cast of alternate captains.
“I’ve watched the work ethic and how they carry themselves on a daily basis,” said Kinnear of the four. “Those guys have come to work every single day and never take a day off with regards to their compete level.”
That leadership group will play a big role in bringing together a Checkers team facing the unique challenge of a dual affiliation, but they’re hardly the only ones Kinnear is counting on.
“I’m excited about having a leadership group, but it doesn’t matter if you’re a first-year player or a veteran, everyone is driving this train,” he said. “We’re looking to get better every single day.”