Winnipeg Jets remove "captain" badge from Blake Wheeler

 | September 19, 2022

Wheeler stated he was "surprised" by the move but is determined to stay positive.

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The Winnipeg Jets are stripping Blake Wheeler of the team's captaincy, opting to enter the 2022-23 season with alternates instead.

The team announced the move on Friday but the alternate players are still being determined.

In a statement, Jets Coach Rick Bowness said: “It is our goal to expand the leadership base within our hockey team.

“We have high expectations for our core players, and we want to provide them with the opportunity to step into those greater leadership roles as a group.”

Since 2016 Wheeler has been the captain of the team. He joined the team while Winnipeg was based in Atlanta and remains its longest-tenured player.

Wheeler told reporters: “I don't need a letter on my jersey. There was a time in my career when that validation was important to me. I don't need that anymore.

“I'm really looking forward to watching a lot of the guys I've had the privilege of watching grow up and step into an expanded role. If you think that because of this I'm just going to fade into the background and not be a leader on this team, you're sorely mistaken.”

This is still an interesting move from the team and Wheeler could be a part of the group that is named to the alternate captains.

One alternate captain has already been named, Mark Scheifele.

Scheifele told ESPN: “It's kind of hard to digest right now because I have not had really any conversations with anyone about it. Players, coaches, staff, kinda anything.

“I think it will definitely be interesting to get their input on why they decided to do it and what was the reasoning. Blake's been the heart and soul of his team for a long time, so it definitely was a shock to me to hear it. I'm definitely excited to hear what the reasoning is.”

The Jets will open their preseason on September 29 against the Montreal Canadiens.

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The Author

Ricky Gray

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