His nickname might be "Nuge" but on Friday afternoon, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins became the newest "Captain Canada."
The 19-year-old Edmonton Oilers star skated out wearing the "C" on his sweater when Team Canada took their traditional photo prior to leaving for the world junior championship in Ufa, Russia.
"To pick a leadership group from a group like this, it's difficult," said Team Canada head coach Steve Spott. "I would assume 80 per cent of the guys on our roster are captains with their respective (club) teams."
Nugent-Hopkins was playing with the Oilers' AHL affiliate in Oklahoma City during the NHL lockout before being loaned to Team Canada. According to Spott there's still no guarantee from the Oilers that Canada can keep the talented forward in the event the lockout ends soon — however unlikely that might seem now.
"I do know that (director of hockey operations) Scott Salmond did have some contact with the Edmonton Oilers and they were fully supportive of the decision and excited for Ryan," said Spott. "We definitely made sure we spoke with Edmonton and they were part of the process."
Saint John Sea Dogs star forward Jonathan Huberdeau and London Knights defenceman Scott Harrington — both members of Team Canada's bronze medal-winning squad last year — were named alternates.
Spott said that Nugent-Hopkins' maturity and professional experience weighed heavily in the decision to name him captain, even though the Calder Trophy finalist is a world junior rookie.Read More »from Team Canada WJC2013: Ryan Nugent-Hopkins gets the ‘C’ for Canada