EVERETT – There’s been a distinct pattern to the players who served as captain of the Everett Silvertips.
So when Cody Thoring was named the team’s captain Tuesday, it was no surprise. He fits the description to a T.
Everett’s previous captains – Bryan Nathe, Mitch Love and Torrie Wheat – were all overagers who had earned the respect of the team. And with the exception of Nathe, who was captain in the expansion season, they all served as an alternate captain as 19-year-olds.
Thoring, a 20-year-old defenseman who is the only returning alternate captain from last season, was therefore the natural choice.
“It feels good,” Thoring said Wednesday. “It’s a great honor to be the captain. After the last three guys who have done it, it’s a big honor.”
Thoring was selected in a vote by the team’s players.
“It’s the guy we thought would be captain,” Everett coach Kevin Constantine said. “The players vote and we’ve always giggled that the players vote and the coaches count. But we’ve never done anything but go with what the players want. They’ve always in our opinion made the right choice, and we think they made the right choice again.”
Thoring is the last remaining member of Everett’s inaugural team. The 5-foot-11, 196-pound native of Swift Current, Saskatchewan, is third all-time in games played for Everett with 163. Last season he had no goals and 15 assists in 58 games.
“It’s not just that Cody’s been here three years and been around the longest,” Constantine said. “That’s a factor, but I think minor. Your captain has to lead by example and he’s right at the top of the pack for that. He’s got to care and be passionate about everything going on and Cody’s certainly that. He’s got to have the ability to communicate and Cody’s got good communication skills.”
Added defenseman Jonathan Harty, one of Everett’s five alternate captains: “I think he’ll be a great captain. He’s got great leadership, he’s very fair, he commands respect and everyone gives it to him. He’s by far the best leader on the team.”
Despite being named captain, Thoring doesn’t envision his role being much different from how he conducted himself prior to being named captain.
“Not a whole lot changes,” Thoring said. “I’ve got to be a leader. The captain’s still a leader. I’m just going to help on and off the ice as much as I can and be there for any of the guys that need me.”
In addition to the 18-year-old Harty, also named alternate captains were 20-year-old defenseman Jason Fransoo and 18-year-old forwards Peter Mueller, Zach Hamill and Brady Calla. The six total captains are the most Everett’s ever had in one season.
“There were so many close votes among the others that we’re going to kind of platoon that,” Constantine said. “We’ll go maybe five-game segments of certain guys wearing an A. Usually it’s a captain and two or three alternates, but we’re fine with what we’ve got. We’ve got a good core of guys who I think are really in tune with what it’s going to take to lead this team.”
Irving returns: Everett received the good news that No. 1 goaltender Leland Irving is returning to the team.
Irving was reassigned to Everett by the Calgary Flames on Wednesday. He was scheduled to arrive back in Everett on Wednesday night and participate in practice today.
With Irving back, the Silvertips reassigned 17-year-old goaltender Shayne Barrie to Regina of the Saskatchewan Midget AAA Hockey League. That means Everett will start the season with the same two goaltenders it had last year, Irving and 17-year-old Matt Esposito.
Irving is a critical component to this season’s team. The 18-year-old from Swan Hills, Alberta, was a second-team Western Conference All-Star last season, going 37-22-1-3 with a 1.91 goals against average and .925 save percentage.
Irving was selected 26th overall by Calgary in this year’s NHL draft and was attending the Flames’ training camp.
With Irving back, the only Silvertip remaining at an NHL camp is center Peter Mueller, who’s still in Phoenix.
Slap shots: The Silvertips are a popular pick for success this season. The Hockey News rated Everett the No. 1 team in the entire Canadian Hockey League, which encompasses the WHL, Ontario Hockey League and Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. The Tips ranked second to Vancouver in the Western Major Junior Hockey Writers Association preseason poll, earning five of the 16 first-place votes. … Season ticket holders can now pick up their ticket packages at the Silvertips office.