Syracuse Crunch head coach Benoit Groulx announced earlier this afternoon that defenseman Luke Witkowski would be captaining the Crunch through the 2016-2017 season. Witkowski is the 15th captain in franchise history and joins the likes of current Florida Panther captain Derek MacKenzie, fan favorite Zenon Konopka, and most recently Mike Angelidis. Witkowski, a sixth round draft pick by the Tampa Bay Lightning in 2008 is no stranger to bearing the responsibilty that comes with wearing the 'C' on his chest, as he was captain for two years at Western Michigan.
The bearded one has skated in 201 games with the Crunch since 2012, scoring seven goals and 28 assists while also racking up an impressive 467 penalty minutes. Witkowski has also skated in 20 NHL contests but is still looking for that elusive first NHL point.
While the 6-foot-three, 200 pound blue-liner will not dazzle you with his skating, soft hands, or point shot, he is a hard-hitting brute that is always at the forefront of confrontation. If there is a scrum and somebody is taking shots at a smaller player who can't really defend himself, number 82 is there and ready to throw hands. Witkowski is a natural leader and a staple in the Syracuse community much like Mike Angelidis and Eric Neilson were before him.
In addition, many people's front-runner to be captain, Gabriel Dumont, was announced as one of the alternate captains for the entirety of the campaign. Dumont found his way to Syracuse this season after being brought in by Tampa Bay through free agency over the summer. Last season, the 26 year old French Canadian captained the St. John's IceCaps and put up 19 goals and 30 helpers.
According to Crunch head coach Benoit Groulx, nothing is set in stone as far as the other alternate captain position goes as it will bounce around from player to player throughout the year.
The first time Crunch fans can see their new leaders is Friday night as the Syracuse Crunch host the rival Utica Comets for the first time this season.