Vernon’s David Robinson started last season with a great big ‘C’ emblazoned on the middle of his chest. The Chilliwack Bruins’ homage to their historic NHL namesake.
The tenacious winger will still have a ‘C’ on his Vernon Vipers jersey to start the B.C. Hockey League season, only this one will be sewn a little closer to his left shoulder.
Robinson, who joined his hometown club in January, helping propel the Snakes to their second straight Royal Bank Cup national title, will be Vernon’s captain for the 2010-11 season.
Robinson, the grandson of Vern Dye, founder of the BCHL and of junior A hockey in Vernon, grew up idolizing many of the former Viper captains as a kid. He studied players like Lennie Rampone, Chad Murray, Kory Davison and Jason Williamson (now the Vipers’ assistant coach), and now his playing style seems to be of the same mold.
“It’s a huge honour. All those guys I looked up to growing up and now to have my name on that list is incredible,” said Robinson, who turned 20 in February (BCHL website says June 9). “It’s going to be great leading the team I grew up watching.”
Being a team leader isn’t exactly a new trend for Robinson. He has been the captain since his Pee Wee days in Vernon minor hockey, right up through to Quad Midget with the Okanagan Rockets. He even wore the ‘C’ for a month while the Bruins were rotating the captaincy for a while two years ago.
“It’ll be nothing new to me,” shrugged Robinson. “I can lean on my experience from then. It’s a little different in junior, but that experience still helps.”
The grit, veteran leadership and unending energy he exhibited on a nightly basis during the Vipers’ playoff run make Robinson a clear choice for captaincy in the eyes of head coach Mark Ferner. Normally one to let his players vote for their team leader, Ferner felt Robinson was the logical choice to guide the team.
“I don’t do it (choose the captain) very often… but the type of player and person David is, it’s what you want in a captain. He brings it all to the ice, and he’s a local guy,” said Ferner.
“He’s a competitive guy – you see it in everything he does. He’s an older guy that the younger guys will look up to.”
Well, not all of them will have to look up to him. Standing 5-foot-10 and weighing 170 pounds, Robinson doesn’t come across as a likely combatant, but he is that, and then some. Playing more of a checking role with the Bruins, Robinson racked up an impressive 265 penalty minutes to go along with 43 points in 169 career WHL games, all with Chilliwack.
But he also showed considerable offensive upside last winter with Vernon, posting 15 goals for 25 points in 20 regular-season games with the Snakes.
With high personnel turnover occurring this offseason, Robinson will be counted on to show the new recruits what it means to be a Viper.
“It’ll be a huge change for all of us. We’ve got a lot of talented guys coming, but we’ve also got some veteran guys like Tommy (Adam Thompson), Kak (Bryce Kakoske) and Stevie (Weinstein) who will help me out.”
Robinson’s first duty as captain will be to throw out the first pitch for the Funtastic Slo-Pitch Tournament’s Pros vs Joes game, 5 p.m. at DND Field #5.
Robinson and Dobrowolski are working together at Coldstream Ranch this summer. Their weekday routine consists of work, followed by a session at the gym.
Robinson will take a short break to go house boating on Shuswap Lake for his brother Chris’s bachelor party. He is getting married in October, and Dave is the best man.
SNAKEBITES: The NCAA Division 1 Quinnipiac Bobcats have named former Viper forward Scott Zurevinski their new captain. The Saskatoon product collected 16 goals for 30 points in 39 games in his sophomore season with the Bobcats… Penticton Vees’s rookie Beau Bennett was selected 20th overall in the NHL Entry Draft Friday night in Los Angeles. The 18-year-old Gardena, Calif. product racked up 41 goals and 79 assists in 56 regular-season games with the Vees last season… Ryan Johansen, who played with the Vees in the 2008-09 season, was chosen fourth overall by the Columbus Blue Jackets. Johansen, a North Vancouver native, went on to play Major Junior with the Portland Winter Hawks.