Will Calverley will wear the captain’s C for the Chilliwack Chiefs in 2017-18.
Head coach Jason Tatarnic gave Calverley the letter last week, and with it a fair amount of pressure. The 19 year old is now the undisputed leader of a team with Royal Bank Cup dreams. And the team’s fanbase has big expectations.
But the native of Scarborough, Ont., is ready to embrace the challenge.
“Obviously, whenever you’re named captain of any team it’s an honour,” Calverley said. “But for a great organization like this with the great history the Chiefs have, it’s that much more of an honour.”
We talked last week about Tatarnic’s willingness to roll with a pair of young pups in net.
Naming Calverley captain is also different, because most RBC Cup contenders insist on having a 20 year old wear the C. But Coach T feels Calverley is well suited to the role, no matter what his birth certificate says.
“He’s a guy who’s going to take control of the dressing room, and we need that,” Tatarnic explained. “He’ll hold guys accountable, and I think that’s the one thing we missed a bit last year.
“The players are big guys who can handle being told they can do a better job, and I think Will is going to do that.”
Calverley knows that’s part of the role. The captain can’t be everyone’s friend all of the time.
Sometimes, things need to be said and he won’t be shy about saying them.
“We have a good group of guys here, but every now and then mistakes happen and I’m not going to be afraid to let them know when something’s going wrong,” Calverley noted. “And I expect them to do the same with me.”
Calverley enters his second year with the Chiefs.
Last season he got to watch Captain K operate, and learned some lessons from Jordan Kawaguchi.
“Jordan was a guy who led by example, and when he said something he would do it,” Calverley said. “He made sure guys were always on the same page.”
That’s another part of Calverley that Tatarnic feels is a fit.
“He plays the game hard, gives you an honest effort and he cares,” the bench boss said. “He takes care of himself and he’s prepared.
“And he was with us last year.”
Losing in heartbreaking fashion in the BCHL final last spring sucked.
Being knocked out a second time by Penticton at the Western Canada Cup sucked even more.
The silver lining for Tatarnic is his returning players remember those defeats, know what it took to get that far and know what it will take to go one step further.
“Will went through it, and he’s got that sting in him,” said Tatarnic, who hasn’t name his alternate captains yet.
Linden Hora, Olivier Arseneau and Kale Kane wore A’s last year.
“Kale wasn’t much of a talker but he always came to play, always wanted to win and showed guys what it takes,” Calverley recalled. “Olivier was more of a talker like Gooch and he wasn’t shy to hold guys accountable.
“And Linden was another quiet guy like Kale who would just do it and show guys the way.”
When this season’s alternates are named, Calverley said they’ll function as one unit to move the team forward.
“It’s not going to be just me holding guys accountable,” he said. “We’ll all be doing it. We’ll discuss things together and be as one leadership unit.”
l The Chiefs open the regular season this weekend vs a Mainland division rival, playing back to back road games Friday and Saturday at Prince George.
The team plays its home opener Sept. 15 vs the Langley Rivermen.