Tyler Stahl became the tenth captain in the history of the Victoria Royals franchise on Monday, anointed by head coach Dave Lowry.
Stahl, of Drumheller, Alta., was drafted by the Carolina Hurricanes, 167th overall (sixth round) in 2010, and is in his fourth season with the club. The 20-year-old actually played one regular season game with the Chilliwack Bruins in 2007-08, making him the longest standing member of the team, though Tim Traber, 19, is also in his fourth season.
“This is a choice that was made as a group. I like his willingness to compete and play hard. We like his presence on the ice, the leadership he presents and he has the respect of his teammates,” Lowry said.
“We did it in a democratic fashion, the players had a voice. We knew who the logical choices were and the players’ choices were close to that.”
Stahl takes over from Hayden Rintoul, and Brandon Manning before that, when the team was in Chilliwack. He’s the seventh captain to wear the ‘C’ outright, and the fourth straight defenceman.
Traber and Brandon Magee, 18, will serve as alternate captains, while Jamie Crooks, 20, and Logan Nelson, 19, will split alternate duties this season.
The decision wasn’t made until the Royals played 12 of the season’s 72 games, allowing the new coach some time to get comfortable with the team.
Stahl was wearing the yellow non-contact jersey during practice on Monday, and was a game time decision for Tuesday’s match against the visiting Brandon Wheat Kings.
“It’s exciting, I’m honoured as it’s a big thing to be a captain in this league,” said Stahl. “If you knew as a kid that this was going to happen when you were older, you’d be excited beyond belief.”
Stahl said his is one of a lot of voices in the room but he’ll continue to talk up the team.
“It’s good to know the guys have my respect in the room, hopefully I can do good by them.”
The Royals host the Wheat Kings Tuesday (Oct. 23), 7:05 p.m. at Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre, and are on the road in Vancouver on Friday and Kamloops on Saturday.
History of Victoria Royals & Chilliwack Bruins captains
Chilliwack Bruins2006-07 Josh Aspenlind* 2007-08 Nick Holden (Columbus Blue Jackets)2008-09 Jadon Potter (Potter suffered career-ending neck injury), rotational (Jesse Craige, David Robinson)2009-10 Mitch McColm (traded), Brandon Manning2010-11 Brandon Manning (Philadelphia Flyers)
Victoria Royals2011-12 Hayden Rintoul2012-13 Tyler Stahl
* Inaugural captain, later played for the ECHL Victoria Salmon Kings