The Fort McMurray Oil Barons have their new captain.
19-year old second year forward Jetlan Houcher will lead the team this year, with alternate captains Zach Wittenburg, Ryan Bloom, and Alex Cromwell.
MOB head coach and general manager Gord Thibodeau made the announcement on Country 93.3 and ROCK 97.9 this morning.
“He’s a kid that is very talented, very committed both on and off the ice, and we think he’s going to be a great representative for the ideals that we’re trying to teach these young kids,” said Thibodeau.
“I just hope I can lead this team to a national championship,” Houcher remarked. “That’s the goal. That’s what we’re going for.”
Houcher was acquired at the trade deadline in January from the West Kelowna Warriors of the British Columbia Hockey League.
He quickly became the team’s most potent offensive threat, scoring 12 goals and 8 assists in just 17 regular season games with the MOB.
Houcher had also amassed an impressive minor hockey resume, playing in Lloydminster. In his final year of midget, he scored 41 goals; and back in bantam he had a 50-goal year.
“We wanted to let the players show us the leadership skills throughout main camp and exhibition,” said Thibodeau. “In Jetlan’s case, I think he’s got a lot of respect in the dressing room.”
“I think we’re proud to have him as a captain; I know he’s proud of this organization.”
The Barons open their season on Friday night at the Casman Centre when they take on one of Houcher’s former teams, the Spruce Grove Saints, at 8pm.
“It’s just great to get started,” Thibodeau added. “It seems like we’ve been going for four months now; exhibition isn’t a fun time for anybody; you want the games to count.”
“It’s always difficult to open in front of your home fans, but you know what, we can’t wait to get going.”