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Hitmen unveil leadership group, name van de Leest captain

The Calgary Hitmen have named 20-year-old defenceman Jackson van de Leest as the 28th Captain in franchise history.

Joining van de Leest in the Club’s newly announced leadership group are forwards Riley Fiddler-Schultz, Cael Zimmerman and Anaheim Ducks prospect Sean Tschigerl, as well as defenceman and St. Louis Blues draftee Tyson Galloway.

“We are very pleased to appoint our 2021-22 leadership group.” said Hitmen head coach Steve Hamilton. “Led by our fifth-year Hitmen veterans in Jackson van de Leest and Cael Zimmerman, this group embodies the culture that has been established here in Calgary and will be excellent leaders on and off the ice.”

Van de Leest, a product of Kelowna, B.C., is embarking upon his fifth season with Calgary. He has totaled 67 points (8G-59A) in 197 career games.

The 6-foot-7, 238-pound rearguard was originally selected 16th overall by the Hitmen in the 2016 WHL Draft.

“I’ve been with this team since I was sixteen and it’s been a dream of mine to call myself a captain in the WHL,” van de Leest commented. “I think that we have a great group of leaders with the guys that got letters. I know it was a tough decision from the coaches because we have a lot of leadership in the room. I’m super excited for the year and am very honoured.”

As captain, van de Leest succeeds forward Josh Prokop, who is now taking advantage of the WHL Scholarship at the University of Alberta.

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