As has been rumored for weeks, San Jose’s Joe Pavelski has emerged as the new Captain America. Ryan Suter and Patrick Kane have been tapped to play Sam Wilson and Bucky Barnes to Pavelski’s Steve Rogers.
The most surprising part might be the USA Hockey announcement might be that Zach Parise, captain at the 2014 Sochi Olympics, won’t have a letter of any kind, Kane and Suter grabbed the alternate captain titles.
— USA Hockey (@usahockey) September 7, 2016
The team is making up for that by announcing a “leadership group,” which includes Parise, David Backes, Ryan Kesler and Ryan McDonagh.
“The great news for us is that we have plenty of leaders in our room,” said head coach John Tortorella. “In the end, in addition to our captain and alternate captains, we also selected four other players and those seven guys will form an overall leadership group for our team. Our goal is simple and that’s to win the World Cup.”
The announcement doesn’t clarify what the leadership group is or does, but it’s likely an effort to acknowledge there are a lot of leaders in the room and avoid any salty feelings for players who have had letters in the past and aren’t wearing them now.
This is the first time that either Kane or Pavelski will have a letter for Team USA in international play. Parise was an alternate at 2010 Olympics and captain in 2014. Suter was an alternate captain at the last two Olympic Games.
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Dustin Nelson is the News Editor for The Hockey Writers. He’s a contributor to Hockey Prospectus, Hockey Wilderness, and writes a column for Rotowire. He’s also written for Gone Puck Wild, Wild Xtra, InDigest, Electric Literature, The Rumpus, Tiny Mix Tapes, Prefix Magazine & other publications. Have a tip? Email him at dlukenelson[at]gmail[dot]com.