Season 13 begins for the Sound Tigers with a new captain, and with a newcomer in (but not to) the role: Chris Bruton gets the ‘C’ tonight against Wilkes-Barre/Scranton. The A’s go to youthful experience on defense, Calvin de Haan and Aaron Ness.
“It means a ton. It’s a huge honor,” Bruton said.
“We’ve been together a month, and we’ve got great leaders, guys like Gally, Finley with NHL experience.”
Brett Gallant and Joe Finley are guys Scott Pellerin mentioned as players who’ll be leaders for this team, as well as Justin Johnson, Johan Sundstrom, John Persson, and even the rookies who were leaders in college, like Riley Wetmore and Anders Lee.
“We’ve got a good mix in there even though they don’t have letters,” Pellerin said. “That’s huge in regards to the makeup of our locker room.”
Third-year guys Ness and de Haan are the alternates. They’ve seen the highs and the lows here, and they’ve got a good sense of what the team’s trying to do.
“I’m excited to have Calvin and Nesser take that next step in their development and be a part of the leadership group,” Pellerin said.
Bruton is the team’s 10th captain, and he’s the third to wear the ‘C’ in his first game as a Sound Tiger (Keith Aldridge, Mark Wotton).
“No. 1, he’s got great energy, great leadership qualities,” Pellerin said. “He’s proven it in the past at different levels. He plays the game the right way. He’s a great example of someone who’s persevered and continued to work hard.”
He was captain of a Memorial Cup-winning team in Spokane*, and he was captain at Acadia University, too.
“I think it comes almost natural to me,” Bruton said. “I enjoy being vocal, trying to lead by example.”
The first opportunity for all those leaders is tonight. Anders Nilsson was the first goalie off the ice, and nothing looked dramatically different than it has during the week.
*-So, just in case, if something crazy happens in eight months, the league office may want to double-check the welding.