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Oh captain, my captain: Szturc becomes first European captain in Kelowna Rockets history

Szturc has 80 points in 96 career WHL games
Kelowna Rockets forward Gabriel Szturc was named the 28th captain in team history on Thursday, Jan. 19. (@reganrant/Twitter)

Gabriel Szturc is the newest captain of the Kelowna Rockets.

The team has been without a captain for the last couple weeks after trading captain Colton Dach to the Seattle Thunderbirds ahead of the WHL trade deadline.

“It means a lot to me to be named captain,” said Szturc. “I want to thank Bruce and Kris for this opportunity, it’s a very big honour. I want to lead the Rockets by doing the right things on and off the ice. I’m going to keep doing the things that I’ve been doing and continue to be a role model for our younger players. I’ve learned from previous captains that they were at the front of the train leading the team to win, that’s what I want to do here.”

Szturc becomes the 28th captain in team history and first ever European captain.

From Cesky Terin, Czechia, Szturc has 80 points (26 goals, 54 assists) in 96 career games.

“He’s a true leader, he’s someone that our group will rally behind and follow in his footsteps,” said Rockets Head Coach Kris Mallette. “He’s a player that comes in each and every day with a smile on his face; he works extremely hard in practice, in the gym and in games. As a European, he has worked diligently on his English, much like everything in his game. He always challenges everyone to be their best.”

The 19-year-old is also coming off of winning a silver medal at the 2023 World Junior Hockey Championships where he collected eight points (five goals, three assists) in seven games.

“We are so excited for Gabriel,” said Rockets President and General Manager Hamilton. “He has earned the utmost respect from his teammates, coaches and the fans. I congratulate him and look forward to watching his progress as a player and our captain.”

Being born late in 2003, Szturc is NHL draft eligible for the second time this summer. He was recently ranked the 181st best skater in North America by NHL Central Scouting.

Szturc will don the ‘C’ for the first time on Friday night against the Vancouver Giants in Langley. Puck drop is at 7:30 p.m.

Rockets fans will get their first chance to see him wear the ‘C’ on home ice on Saturday night when they welcome Vancouver to town. Puck drop is at 7:05 p.m.

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Jordy Cunningham

About the Author: Jordy Cunningham

Hailing from Ladner, B.C., I have been passionate about sports, especially baseball, since I was young. In 2018, I graduated from Thompson Rivers University in Kamloops with a Bachelor of Journalism degree
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