KAMLOOPS — Nick Chyzowski has come a long way from his Kamloops Minor Hockey days, and now five years after being drafted by his hometown Blazers, the 20-year-old is now the captain of that same team.
"Proud moment for me and my family," said Chyzowski, who was officially named captain on Tuesday. "I've been with the Blazers for five years now and I've seen all the past captains. It's just a really big honour for me."
Chyzowski becomes the second Blazer from Kamloops to wear the 'C.' The only other Kamloops product was Ajay Baines, who captained the Blazers from 1996-99.
"It's really special. I got a lot of texts today. It's really cool being from Kamloops. I've got a lot of people on my side," said Chyzowski.
He is now also the second second-generation Blazers player to be captain with Matt Needham being the other.
The Kamloops native, whose dad Dave played for Kamloops for two seasons from 1987-89 before being drafted second overall in the 1989 NHL Draft, had an inkling about being the next captain this summer.
"I talked with the coaches a little bit in the summer, and we just talked about being a leader and what it would take to be a captain for the team," noted Chyzowski. "It was just really exciting when I finally found out."
Don Hay said on Tuesday that Chyzowski is the right choice to lead this team.
"Nick's always been an honest player. I think that's one of the appealing things about Nick," said Hay. "He plays the game the right way. He doesn't take shortcuts, he plays hard, and he competes in all different."
Hay said while Chyzowski is a quieter player on and off the ice, his work ethic and lead-by-example approach can lead into being more of a vocal leader.
"The first part about being a leader is doing the right things and lead by example, and if he can do that, then he feels confident to be more vocal about it," said Hay, who's coached Chyzowski the past three seasons. "It's easier just to go about your business and do your job. When you want to be a good teammate and you want your teammates to play better, you have to stand up and say something."
During the summer, Chyzowski had the chance to speak with Shane Doan at the Blazers' annual golf tournament, talking with a guy who was an NHL captain for the Coyotes from 2003 until his retirement this year.
"He had some good things to say, and one of the things he said was being captain, some people expect you to change or do something really great. But the truth is, just be yourself and keep doing the things that have made you successful," he said.
Chyzowski won't change much going into this season as captain. The one thing he will do is boast his captaincy, something his dad didn't have during this two seasons.
"Yeah sure," he said. "He was a pretty special player when he played here and when he played pro, so it's just one thing that he hasn't done that I did. It's pretty cool for me."
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