TO BE COYOTES CAPTAIN
BY DAVE VEST
Oliver Ekman-Larsson is the new captain of the Coyotes.
The 27-year-old defenseman, who has played his entire NHL career for
the Arizona/Phoenix franchise, happily accepted the job a day before the
start of the team’s 2018-19 training camp.
“I am beyond thrilled to be the new captain,” Ekman-Larsson said.
“It’s a big honor and I’m very grateful. I’ve been with this team for a long
time and it’s part of who I am, and it feels good to know they respect and
appreciate me enough to give me this important job. I’m super excited and
very proud, and I know my family is very proud of me, too.”
Rick Tocchet did not name a captain last season, his first as head coach
of the Coyotes. Instead, he appointed Ekman-Larsson and four others to
serve as alternate captains.
“I just needed that year to get to know people and, quite frankly, they
had to get to know me, too,” Tocchet said. “I think it was a two-way street.
Whether it’s Oliver or some other guys on the team, that process, I wanted
to go through that. I think it was a good process to go through. I knew as
the season went on that Oliver was going to be our captain.”
Tocchet said he hopes Ekman-Larsson doesn’t change who he is as
captain because the players on the team already “gravitate” toward him
“I just want him to be himself,” Tocchet said.
Clayton Keller, who finished third in the Calder Trophy voting last season,
said naming Ekman-Larsson team captain is a significant move.
“It’s huge,” Keller said. “He’s our leader. He’s been here for a long time
and to see him commit to this organization really means a lot. He’s a star
player. All of us young guys, and everyone else on the team, follows what
he does and how he acts. I think you can learn a lot from him. He’s easy to
talk to, and he’s going to be great in that position.”