Quinn Hughes is one of the most relatable captains in Vancouver Canucks franchise history
Photo credit:Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports
8 days ago
Quinn Hughes has only been the captain of the Vancouver Canucks for just over 24 hours, but whether he knew it or not, he’s been the face of the team for quite a while.
Hughes was the perfect choice to be the 15th captain in franchise history for a variety of reasons beyond just being a superstar defenceman. His even-keeled attitude. His popularity among his teammates in the dressing room. His ability to speak thoughtfully on off-ice subjects, even if he doesn’t consider himself “someone that knows what’s going on.”
Hughes has been quietly carrying himself like a captain for years, and his promotion just makes it official. But there is something particularly fascinating about Hughes’ rise to the face of the franchise, and that’s the way he’s simultaneously become the face of a generation of young Canucks fans online.
Take one look through your Twitter/X feed you’ll find a slew of Hughes reaction pictures, screengrabbed from various broadcasts and social media posts.
While mistakenly referring to them as memes (as opposed to templates for memes) those pictures provide a clear glimpse into one of his most valuable attributes; his relatability.
Once in a blue moon, a player comes along who defies preconceptions about what a professional athlete is supposed to be. Quinn Hughes is, by pro sports standards, a normal guy born with NHL superpowers. And that makes fans love him all the more.
It’s also part of what endears him to his own teammates, as evidenced by Elias Pettersson, J.T. Miller and Thatcher Demko all attending his introductory press conference. Any one of them could’ve been a captain in their own right, but “Huggy Bear’s” voice certainly has the ear of the entire locker room, despite not being the loudest one.
In Hughes, the Canucks might not have a captain who strikes fear into his opponents, or even makes a highlight reel deke every single night. But they do have a quietly confident leader who teammates instantly respect for his work ethic and skill, while fans are drawn to his friendly, almost nervous-seeming public persona.
Hughes will learn how to navigate the tougher elements of the captaincy as he goes, including the grind of being available for media questions practically every day. But like Bo Horvat before him, Hughes has all the makings of a terrific modern captain; one who can lead by example on the ice, while providing the next generation of Canucks fans with a legitimate blueprint for how to do so off of it.
Good luck to you Quinn Hughes, captain of the people.
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