Hodgson to wear the ‘C’ for Vancouver, Duch & Smith assistant captains
The Vancouver Stealth have announced the team’s captains for the 2015 NLL season. Nine-year NLL veteran defenseman and Champion’s Cup winner Curtis Hodgson will wear the ‘C’ for the Stealth this season while Rhys Duch and Cliff Smith will be the assistant captains.
“I feel really grateful to lead this team,” Hodgson said. “We’ve got a terrific group of guys that have come together. As a cagey veteran on the squad, I’m privileged to lead these guys. I’m really excited about the opportunity.”
“It’s an honor not only to be recognized as a leader but to be displayed as one,” Duch said. “It’s a good feeling but it comes with responsibility but it’s a responsibility I’m ready for.”
“Being a part of the leadership group is exciting,” Smith said. “It’s something you look forward to when you’re a young player, to be someone that’s looked upon as a leader.”
It was announced in October that last season’s captain Kyle Sorensen would miss the 2015 season after undergoing knee surgery.
Stealth head coach Dan Perreault said it was important make a decision on the captaincy based on who would be a leader both on and off the floor.
“We were in no hurry to make our decision once camp started,” he said. “We wanted to see how things unfolded in camp. With those three guys, you saw it during camp – they were our leaders.”
Hodgson is entering his 10th NLL season, all with the Stealth organization. He holds the franchise record for most regular season games played with 161. Hodgson is also tied for the most playoff games played in a Stealth uniform with 11. He won a title with the Stealth during their 2010 Champion’s Cup run.
“Kyle’s one of my good friends,” said Hodgson. “Him and I have gone back and forth and talked about roles and responsibilities. I’ve been an older guy for the last few years and I’ve taken on that mentorship role that worked for me when I was a younger player, in terms of how to learn the game and what it takes to win and that’s something I’ll try and bring this season.”
This is Duch’s third year wearing the ‘A’. He’s been with the Stealth since being drafted by the team third overall in the 2008 NLL Entry Draft. Duch led the team with 80 points last year and is the team’s all-time regular season leader in assists (296) and is on pace to become the Stealth’s franchise leader in goals and points. He also won an NLL Champion’s Cup with the team in 2010.
“I think it’ll be a bit of a transition period because we have a lot of new faces,” stated Duch. “Being one of the captains, it’ll be part of my responsibility to facilitate those new guys and transition them into their roles and help make us successful.”
Smith, entering his fifth NLL season, will don the ‘A’ for the first time in his NLL career; something he says he’s looking forward to.
“I don’t think there’s necessarily any added pressure,” he said. “Regardless if you’re a rookie or a veteran, there’s always going to be high expectations after last season. It’s more exciting than it is nerve-wracking.”
Vancouver begins the 2015 NLL regular season on the road when they take on the Calgary Roughnecks on Saturday, January 3 as part of NLL Face Off Weekend 2015. The Stealth’s home opener takes place the following week when they host the Toronto Rock on Saturday, January 10 at 10 p.m. ET at Langley Events Centre.