Not since Duncan Siemens in 2011-12 have the Saskatoon Blades had a captain younger than 19 years old.
But, that will be the case this season…at least until February when Chase Wouters turns 19! The Lloydminster product was named the 59th captain of the Blue and Gold Thursday following his return from attending the rookie and main training camps of the N-H-L’s Tampa Bay Lightning.
“It’s a huge honour to be named one of the leaders here on the team,” explained Wouters. “Everyone is a leader, though. It’s just a letter on the jersey and we all know what we’re here for. We’re here to win hockey games, so I’m looking forward to the year.”
The alternate captains with the Bridge City Bunch will be 20-year-old defenceman Dawson Davidson, overage right winger Max Gerlach and 19-year-old right winger Josh Paterson.
“We’re really a tight group and Chase is a really good leader and I have complete faith in him to be able to lead this team,” said Paterson, agreeing that it doesn’t matter within the tightly-knit dressing room that the captain is younger than 12 of his team-mates.
“I think Chase is the type of guy who brings his best everyday to the rink…whether it’s his workouts, his academics, his community events, his practices, his games,” said Blades’ head coach Mitch Love about the appointment of Wouters as captain. “We’re excited to have him lead this hockey club.”
Love said the leadership came together via a combination of team vote plus coaching staff and management input.
All that’s left now is for Saskatoon is to open the regular-season with a home-and-home series against the Broncos…Friday night in Swift Current and Saturday at SaskTel Centre. The broadcasts both nights start at 6 with the Sardinia Family Restaurant pre-game show and the play-by-play at 7 o’clock on the new radio home of Blades’ hockey, 98-COOL. Following is the news release from the Blades…
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Saskatoon, Sask. — The Saskatoon Blades announced their leadership group on Thursday afternoon ahead of the 2018-19 regular season opener on Friday night in Swift Current.
Chase Wouters has been named the 59th captain in team history. Joining Wouters in the leadership group is 20-year-old defensemen Dawson Davidson, 20-year-old winger Max Gerlach, and 19-year-old winger Josh Paterson.
Wouters, 18, is entering his third full season in the Western Hockey League with the Saskatoon Blades. The announcement comes on the heels of Wouters returning early Thursday morning from training camp with the Tampa Bay Lightning. Originally form Lloydminster, Alberta, Wouters was drafted by the Blades in the 1st round of the 2015 WHL Bantam Draft, 19th overall. Last season Wouters hit career highs in goals (18) and points (51). He was also a member of Team Canada’s Under-18 squad in April, and won a silver medal with Team Canada at the World U17 Challenge back in 2016.
Chase Wouters will be supported by alternate captains Dawson Davidson, Max Gerlach, and Josh Paterson, all of whom have over 200 career WHL games under their belt. In the event of injury or absence, Kirby Dach will serve as the fourth alternate.
Davidson and Gerlach are entering their final year in the Western Hockey League as two of the three Blades’ overagers. Both were acquired in January of 2018 at the trade deadline and will provide a veteran presence to both the forward and defensive groups.
Gerlach, a native of Texas, is coming off his third straight 30+ goal season and recently returned to Saskatoon from Arizona Coyotes training camp.
Dawson Davidson, who leads the group in career games played with 233, is coming off a career year last season with personal bests in goals (10) and points (43).
The third alternate captain is the Blades’ reigning iron-man, Josh Paterson. The 19-year-old from Edmonton, Alberta, was drafted by the Blades in 2014, and will enter his fourth campaign with Saskatoon this weekend. Paterson has played a total of 145 consecutive games over the last three seasons.
The Blades opening the 2018-19 hockey season on Friday night in Swift Current as they visit the reigning league champion Broncos. Both teams will then return to Saskatoon on Saturday for the Blades’ home opener at SaskTel Centre at 7:00pm.