Wear­ing the C

Se­cond-year Is­lan­ders for­ward named team cap­tain

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - PROVINCE - BY JA­SON MAL­LOY

Oliver Cooper Is­lan­ders new cap­tain.

Oliver Cooper is the new cap­tain of the Char­lot­te­town Is­lan­ders.

Head coach Jim Hulton made the an­nounce­ment at the be­gin­ning of Thurs­day’s prac­tice. Cooper takes over for Quinn O’Brien, who broke a bone in his wrist in De­cem­ber and has had sea­son-end­ing surgery.

“I think he’s an easy, log­i­cal choice to take over for Quinn,” Hulton said. “He’s been a core mem­ber of our lead­er­ship group all sea­son. It’s a nat­u­ral fit for us and the team.”

Hulton said there were only a cou­ple of votes sep­a­rat­ing O’Brien and Cooper at the be­gin­ning of the sea­son when the play­ers voted. Given the cir­cum­stances of hav­ing to name a new cap­tain mid-sea­son, Hulton said it was a staff de­ci­sion this time around.

They in­formed Cooper min­utes be­fore the team took the ice.

Play­ers slammed their sticks on the ice as Hulton made the an­nounce­ment at the Eastlink Cen­tre.

“It’s def­i­nitely an hon­our. It’s some­thing you kind of dream about as a kid,” said Cooper, who was an as­sis­tant cap­tain since join­ing the Is­lan­ders.

The 20-year-old Fredericton, N.B., na­tive is in his fifth sea­son in the Que­bec Ma­jor Ju­nior Hockey League and se­cond with the Is­lan­ders af­ter start­ing his ca­reer with the Saint John Sea Dogs.

He has 20 goals and 19 as­sists for 39 points in 46 games.

Cooper, who is bilin­gual, said he sees him­self as an ap­proach­able guy who likes to get ev­ery­one in­volved.

He said re­gard­less if a player is wear­ing a let­ter, ev­ery­one can be lead­ers on and off the ice.

“There’s tons of guys in that room that would have been great choices to be the cap­tain,” he said.

Hulton said Cooper earned the right to be the cap­tain by be­ing him­self, and they don’t want that to change.

“He’s re­ally hard on him­self by na­ture,” the coach said. “We told him this doesn’t change any­thing. We’re switch­ing you from a vowel to a con­so­nant.”

Cooper said he’s had some great cap­tains while play­ing ma­jor ju­nior, in­clud­ing last year.

“Ryan MacKin­non was prob­a­bly one of the best cap­tains in the CHL,” Cooper said. “I learned a lot from him.”

The list also in­cludes Jonathan Hu­berdeau, Pierre Dure­pos and goalie Se­bastien Auger dur­ing his Sea Dogs days.

“That guy was just a prime ex­am­ple of a cap­tain,” Cooper said of Auger. “He does ev­ery­thing right. He’s the hard­est-work­ing guy on and off the ice.”

Dex­ter We­ber, Kameron Kielly and Daniel Sprong re­main as­sis­tants.

JA­SON MAL­LOY/THE GUARDIAN

Oliver Cooper will be the Char­lot­te­town Is­lan­ders cap­tain for the re­main­der of the sea­son.

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