Follow the Leader | NHL.com

LAVAL-SUR-LE-LAC — The Canadiens kicked off the unofficial first day of the 2022-23 campaign at the team’s annual golf tournament with a major official announcement, unveiling Nick Suzuki as the 31st captain in franchise history.

The 23-year-old forward became the youngest player to ever don the “C” for the iconic franchise.

“It’s a true honor for me and a privilege,” said Suzuki, shortly after being introduced to the media by head coach Martin St-Louis. “This team is heading in a great direction, and I couldn’t be more excited to be the captain and represent the team.”

Tweet from @CanadiensMTL: C vraiment beau �� voir We like what we C #GoHabsGo | @nsuzuki_37 pic.twitter.com/qsyp3e8BAs

The London, ON native, who is entering his fourth NHL campaign, was thrilled to assume his new duties.

“It means a lot, just to see the respect that management, my teammates, and the coaches have for me. I know it’s a big role, but I think I’m ready for it,” stated Suzuki. “There’s a bright future here and I’m excited to be a part of it.”

Tweet from @CanadiensMTL: A message from Captain @nsuzuki_37! #GoHabsGo pic.twitter.com/SbCHq447qS


For their part, alternate captains Brendan Gallagher and Joel Edmundson explained that when it comes to Suzuki’s leadership potential, age is just a number.

Gallagher, who previously wore an “A” under captains Max Pacioretty and Shea Weber, on what Suzuki will bring to his new role:

“He’s the heartbeat of our team. He’s our leader and we’re happy to follow him,” stressed Gallagher. “Any way that me and Ed can make it easier on him, we’re going to be here to support him along the way. He’s younger, it might be a little different for him, but he’s fully ready for this opportunity. I think he’s comfortable and most importantly, he’s got the support of our entire locker room. We’re happy to follow him and we know how strong of a leader he is.”

Video: Brendan Gallagher on Nick Suzuki‘s leadership

Edmundson, who won the 2019 Stanley Cup as a member of the St. Louis Blues, on how Suzuki’s nomination reflects the youth movement currently sweeping through the Canadiens’ dressing room:

“We’re building something special here. We’re starting young and there’s no better place or time to get Nick wearing the C,” described Edmundson. “We leaned on him in tight games down the stretch and he always proves himself right on the ice. In the locker room he’s an easy guy to talk to. He’s very smart and he wants to learn more and more every day about hockey. He loves hockey. When you can lean on a guy like that on and off the ice, that’s a guy who deserves to be captain.”

Video: Joel Edmundson on the decision to name Suzuki captain

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