Photo credit:Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports
MacKenzie Weegar should be the next captain of the Calgary Flames
6 months ago
One of the big decisions Craig Conroy and Ryan Huska are going to have to make before the start of the 2023-24 season is naming the next captain of the Calgary Flames.
There are a few things you need to take into consideration when naming a captain of an NHL franchise which include;
– The captain should be signed to a long-term contract
– The captain should be a one of the best players on the team
– The captain must lead by example on the ice
– The captain needs to be a good public speaker and comfortable dealing with the media
– The captain is the face of the franchise and someone you can market across your city and the league
– The captain needs to be charitable and do work in the community
As you can see, being a captain in a Canadian market comes with a lot of pressure and responsibilities. Luckily for the Flames, there are a number of good candidates to choose from including Jonathan Huberdeau, Rasmus Andersson, Mikael Backlund, Blake Coleman and Nazem Kadri. But the one player who is the obvious choice to become the 16th captain in Calgary Flames history is MacKenzie Weegar.
Weegar checks all the boxes listed above for what makes a great captain.
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1. The captain should be signed to a long-term contract
Weegar is signed for the next eight years with the Flames. He isn’t going anywhere. You want your captain to be around for the long haul and do things like establish a positive, winning culture in your dressing room.
It’s hard to establish that type of culture when you have a captain that’s only around for a couple years. Which is why someone like Mikael Backlund should not be considered for the captaincy.
2. The captain should be a one of the better players on the roster
Weegar established himself as the best defenseman on the Flames in the second half of the season. I wrote about his incredible second half of the season a couple weeks ago.
It’s hard to lead a team when you’re not an important member of the team on the ice. And that won’t be an issue for Weegar next season as he could be in line to lead the Flames in average ice time per game next season.
3. The captain must lead by example on the ice
There were a lot of nights in the second half of the season when Weegar was the emotional leader on the ice. At times he was the only one engaged physically. He was the only one getting emotional and fired up. We didn’t see that from guys like Huberdeau and Kadri.
Weegar is the type of guy who his teammates can get behind and rally around after he sets the tone on the ice. Mark Giordano and Jarome Iginla were great at leading by example.
4. The captain needs to be a good public speaker and comfortable speaking with the media
I’m not in the Flames dressing room talking to the players like the mainstream media is, which makes it a little more difficult to evaluate this portion of the captain criteria.
But through watching media scrums, interviews, and podcast appearances, it’s clear that Weegar is the best Calgary Flame when it comes to dealing with the media.
He is articulate, engaging, and has a great sense of humour. The fans love hearing from him because he doesn’t just give cliche after cliche. He tells it like it is during the good times and bad. Fans respect that and want to see that type of behaviour from their captain.
[Editor’s Note: I am in the Flames dressing room talking to the players; Weegar’s very good at speaking to the media. -RP]
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5. The captain is the face of the franchise and someone you can market across the league
The Flames could easily market Weegar. Just watch how he handles the media. Watch him show off his personality. He is someone who could become the face of the Flames franchise.
All the things we’ve already touched on play into that. He’s a great player on the ice. He has a great personality off it. There is potential for Weegar to become a star in Calgary if he wants to be.
6. The captain needs to be charitable and do work in the community
I don’t know how much charity work Weegar did in Calgary last season. But this is something he could easily pick up with the help of the incredible team at the Flames Foundation. Flames captains of the past like Lanny McDonald, Jarome Iginla, and Mark Giordano set the bar incredibly high when it comes to being involved in the Calgary community. The next captain should do the same. There is no reason Weegar couldn’t carry on that tradition.
My 2023-24 Flames leadership group
Captain – MacKenzie Weegar
Alternate – Rasmus Andersson
Alternate – Blake Coleman
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