The Merritt Centennials announced their leadership group for the upcoming 2020-21 season.
The Centennials coaches and staff felt it was important to name a leadership group early on in the exhibition season to set the tone both in and outside of the rink. There were plenty of candidates to choose from amongst the new and returning players, but the Hockey Operations Staff has settled on certain individuals who have stood out early on. With the expanded roster size to 25 this season, management has decided on a Captain with 2 home alternates and two away alternates to ensure no matter who the Cents put into the lineup the leadership group will always be well represented.
Captain - Zack Dallazanna
Director of Hockey Operations John Stuart Says that Dallazanna has been nothing but exceptional since being acquired via trade.
"Since arriving after an off-season trade with the Nanaimo Clippers, Zack has led the way both on and off the ice. He was in attendance at all the Centennials camps, and has been excited to join the Centennials squad since the day he was acquired. Dallazanna has come from a winning culture and knows what it takes for a team to be successful. He leads by example, a blue collar player that is respected by teammates and staff. An unselfish player that puts the team first, and is an example for the younger guys in the room.
Dallazanna says that the announcement came as a bit of a surprise, but it's a role that he's happy to accept and continue to earn throughout the year.
"It's an absolute honor to become Captain of a team I just got traded to in the offseason. I wasn't really expecting anything big coming into the year, but its a great opportunity presented to me coming into camp and I'm just excited to be leading this team into the future." Dallazanna adds that he's learnt a lot through his years in the BCHL. "One of the things I'd like to bring to the team this year is that every day expect the most out of yourself, and most of the time good results are going to happen."
Home Alternate - Talon Zakall
Stuart says that since being thrust into a bigger role, the Cents local player has thrived.
"Talon is a local player that has more than earned a letter and his confidence has jumped immensely from last season. You can just feel the respect he has when he's in the room and in the community. We look forward to him taking another step forward this season."
Home Alternate - Ben Ward
Assistant GM Stuart says that Ward is a player that never stops pushing, and he hopes it rubs off on his teammates this year.
"Nobody works harder on and off the ice than Ben Ward. He has led by example on the ice, in the dressing room, in the weight room, and in the community. He is willing to go the extra mile for anybody."
Road Alternate - Jerzy Orchard
"Jerzy is a returning assistant captain from last years and deserves the opportunity to return again this year. Like the others, Jerzy has a ton of respect from his teammates and has been a great liason between players and coaches. He's a very smart player with a great attitude, and has the great quality of being level headed and demanding of his teammates."
Road Alternate - Liam Visram
"Visram came to the Cents via trade in early September from the Nanaimo Clippers. Liam has led by example both on and off the ice since he has arrived. A true leader who has been a part of successful teams and played under great leadership. He knows how to lead and does it the right way."
Head Coach Derek Sweet-Coulter adds that the leadership group has been chosen for their ability to put team success first.
"Each player that has been chosen to lead this organization forward all have one thing in common and that is that they all understand when the organization succeeds, they succeed as individuals as well. The logo and the Merritt community always comes first. We are here to be servant leaders in our community, build great relationships, and make a positive impact in the lives of others. I look forward to working with this leadership group on a daily basis as we begin our journey together.
The journey begins tomorrow night when the Cents take on the Prince George Spruce Kings for their first test on the exhibition schedule against BCHL competition. Puck drop 7pm, Pre-Game 6:45 on HockeyTV and Q101.