Brendan Gaunce hasn’t turned nineteen, but his OHL club (the Belleville Bulls) thinks he’s mature enough to wear the captain’s "C" on his chest. The Bulls announced yesterday that Gaunce, Vancouver’s first overall pick at the 2012 NHL Entry Draft, will be the team’s captain this season.
Read past the jump.
That the Bulls chose Gaunce to replace outgoing captain Luke Judson (who graduated from major junior hockey this season) doesn’t come as much of a surprise. In fact, John Matisz suggested that this was likely when we spoke briefly in Pittsburgh in late June.
In hockey, being "captain material" means a lot of things to a lot of different people. There’s a leadership component of course, but for me, the primary purpose of the job is handling the media. I was at Gaunce’s media availability after he was selected by the Canucks, and in terms of his ability to handle the press there’s no doubt that Gaunce is a smart and articulate young man.
In particular, Gaunce was grilled on his personal relationships with BioSteel, Cody Hodgson and Gary Roberts (who had only a few weeks before called Mike Gillis an idiot) and how that might impact his new working relationship with the team that had just selected him. I was immediately impressed by how Gaunce expertly stickhandled that particular snake pit.
Here’s what Gaunce told the Belleville Intelligencer about his added responsiblity for this upcoming season:
It’s an honour,” said Gaunce, who led Belleville with 28 goals and 68 points in 68 games last season.
Gaunce, who was selected by the Vancouver Canucks in the first round of the NHL draft in Pittsburgh in June — 26th overall — said he’ll try to lead by example. Again.
“Being in Vancouver in the summer and observing the guys there, you see their approach and realize what professionals they are,” he said. “It’s my goal to bring that enthusiasm and drive to the rink. Every day.”
With two Subbans, speedster Joseph Cramarossa, and their newly minted captain; Gaunce’s Belleville Bulls project to be a really entertaining OHL club this upcoming season. The Bulls will open their regular season later this week, against the loaded Sarnia Sting.