The Everett Silvertips don’t have a captain yet, but they do have a leadership group in place.
The Tips announced last Thursday that defensemen Ty Gibson and Kaden Hammell and forwards Ben Hemmerling and Austin Roest will comprise the team’s leadership for the 2023-24 season. All four are currently listed as alternate captains, with no one assigned the “C” as captain as of yet.
The 20-year-old Gibson, the 19-year-old Hemmerling and the 19-year-old Roest are all in their fourth seasons with the Tips. Gibson has nine goals and 32 assists in 154 games, Hemmerling has 34 goals and 84 assists in 136 games and Roest has 48 goals and 70 assists in 144 contests. The 18-year-old Hammell is the relative newcomer, as the trade acquisition from Kamloops last season has four goals and 14 assists in 33 games with Everett.
Hemmerling and Roest are returning leaders as they both served as alternate captains last season.
“Gibby has really transformed his personality and approach, he brings more of a calming leadership, one that everyone respects,” Everett coach Dennis Williams said when asked about why those four were selected. “Kaden Hammell took big steps after joining us after Christmas, and he’s a positive presence who’s really good with the younger guys. Then with Roest and Hemmerling, I don’t know if I’ve ever had to get on them about working hard or getting the pace going. They want to be pros, they train and act like pros, and that’s good for the locker room because of the example they set with their daily routines.”
Hemmerling (Vegas), Roest (Nashville) and Hammell (Seattle) all returned from NHL training camps last week, meaning they were back for Friday’s 3-2 overtime victory over Wenatchee and Saturday’s 5-0 victory over Kamloops, which improved the Tips’ record to 3-1-0-0. That trio was not available for Everett’s first two games of the season.
Williams explained that the reason a captain hasn’t been selected yet is because those three just returned to the team. He said a decision on whether a captain will be selected will be made in the future. He gave no timeline on when that may happen.
Hammell’s return was particularly important for the Tips, given the serious injury suffered by fellow right-handed defenseman Dexter Whittle. Whittle was injured in Everett’s 5-3 home victory over Victoria on Sept. 23, when he was checked from behind into the boards by the Royals’ Alex Edwards. Edwards was given a match penalty for attempt to injure on the play, and subsequently suspended 25 games by the league.
Meanwhile, Whittle has returned home to Virden, Manitoba, to recover from what’s listed as an upper-body injury that will keep him out indefinitely.
“I was really saddened to see what happened with Dexter Whittle,” Williams said. “He’ll be home for some time, and we’ll have to wait a little while to see how his recovery goes. Our thoughts are with him right now.”
Three stars of the week
Third star: Ethan Chadwick. The 19-year-old goaltender, acquired from Saskatoon during the offseason, registered his first shutout for the Tips in just his second start, stopping all 24 shots he faced Saturday against Kamloops. For his efforts Chadwick was named the WHL Goaltender of the Week.
Second star: Teague Patton. The overage forward, who was acquired from Victoria during the offseason, continued his strong start to his Everett career, as he registered a goal and two assists in a hugely influential performance against Kamloops. His five points in four games are tied for the team lead.
First star: Dominik Rymon. The 19-year-old forward from Czechia scored three goals across the two games, with the highlight being his overtime game-winner against Wenatchee. Rymon has four goals this season, which is double the number he scored in 18 games last season.
The week ahead
Everett hits the road for the first time this season when the Tips travel to face the Portland Winterhawks on Friday and the Tri-City Americans on Saturday.
Portland (2-1-0-0) is considered the prohibitive favorite in the U.S. Division this season. The Winterhawks have all their players back from NHL camps now, including 19-year-old defensive ace Luca Cagnoni (17 goals, 47 assists last season). Portland also has a dynamic overage forward duo in Gabe Klassen (three goals, four assists in three games) and James Stefan (two goals, four assists).
Tri-City (2-1-0-0) also has its star defenseman, 18-year-old Lukas Dragicevic (15 goals, 60 assists last season), back from his NHL camp. Several of the Americans’ top forwards from last season have moved on, but 19-year-old behemoth Jake Sloan (three goals, one assist in three games) and silky smooth 17-year-old Jordan Gavin (one goal, two assists) remain.