Colorado Hejduk hands over captaincy to 19-Year old Landeskog
San Francisco, CA -- (SBWIRE) -- 10/08/2012 -- The persistence of the lockout and subsequent canceling of season games does not diminish to accomplishment of Gabriel Landeskog being named Captain of the Colorado Avalanche, despite his relative young age.
Milan Hejduk asked Landeskog to return to the practice rink earlier than he had originally planned to arrive. By his own account, Landeskog was unsure of the meaning of the meeting. When Landeskog walked he noticed just how personal the meeting was, at it was only Hejduk, Head Coach Joe Sacco, and himself.
Hejduk began the conversation by talking of his general aging, as well as his interest to pass on captaincy to someone who could be a long-time leader. He then explained to the 19-year old Landeskog that he was, in fact, that someone to take the old captain’s place.
"[Hejduk] had faith in me," said Landeskog by phone on Wednesday evening. "He believed in me as a captain and a player. That means a lot to me, especially coming from him being such a respected player all around the league and in our dressing room."
Landeskog has experience wearing the “C”, as he was the captain for the Swedish U-16, U-17, and U-18 squads. He even held the “C” in the Ontario Hockey League with the Kitchener Rangers. Hejduk and Sacco had met in the previous week to discuss just how the NHL captaincy position would be similar and different for the young NHL star.
"Don't let his age fool you," said Sacco to reporters on Tuesday. "He's certainly quite mature... more beyond his years. Not only by the way he conducts himself, but by the way he plays on the ice. He's the future of this franchise starting now."
"I think I'm just more excited," said Landeskog. "I'm more looking forward to the challenge."
It may be a new situation for the young man, but the NHL has become a young man’s league, with teams ready to make long-term investments on up-and-coming talents they team worthy.
Sacco stated that Landeskog has a history of showing his is mature beyond his actual age of 19. He has taken an active role in the Players’ Association, attending regular meetings, and will be in New York next week when the PA meets again.
"It's huge. It's our job, It’s our lifestyle," he said. "It's up to us to make sure we're in the know with things and we know what's going, especially as a young guy. Last year I was getting more and more involved throughout the year. It is something that I'll learn a lot more as the years go along. It's the first time I've ever experienced a CBA situation. It's a good experience. It allows you to understand what's going on in the background of things and what the business aspect of the game is all about."
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