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The Leader

Candice Ward/Photo

O Captain! My Captain!

Prior to the season-opener Saturday in Cranbrook, the Hitmen announced Mark Kastelic as the 26th captain in franchise history.

The Arizona native joins an impressive group who have donned the ‘C’, and the first since Cody Sylvester in 2011 to be named captain as a 19-year-old.

Assistants Luke Coleman, Dakota Krebs, Jake Kryski and Riley Stotts join him as part of the leadership group.

“It’s a huge honour,” said Kastelic. “It’s nothing I can take for granted and it’s a real special feeling knowing that the coaching staff and my teammates believe in me to be the captain.

“I want to … embrace being a leader. I want to be a guy that everyone can look up to and depend on in all situations.”

Letter aside, Kastelic has always prided himself on being a leader.

“I’m not letting it get to my head,” Kastelic said. “Coming into the season I wanted to be a key leader and that wasn’t going to change regardless of having a letter or not.

“It’s definitely an awesome feeling and I’m going to continue to be myself and do what I’ve done to get to this point. My parents are so proud of me and I couldn’t have gotten to this point without their support.”

Entering his fourth season in the ’Dub, Kastelic has seen his fair share of captains over the years from his rookie year in 2014, up to last season when he served as an assistant captain.

What made the announcement a little sweeter for him was having a pair of former teammates sending their congratulations.

“My past captains were amazing,” he said. “I was very fortunate to be around them, Colby Harmsworth, Michael Zipp and Matteo Gennaro, they’re all great guys.

“Zipper and Harmsy texted me to congratulate me which felt really good to see their names and that just shows what kind of guys they are. I learned from the best and I’m excited to take everything I’ve learned from them and use it this year.”

It’s been quite the journey up to this point, one that continues to take strides.

“It’s crazy to look back at the shy 15-year-old I was when I first came to where I am now,” he said. “It feels just like yesterday and now looking back to everything I’ve accomplished in my career so far is amazing to see. I’m looking forward to my next two years on the team and what the future holds for us.”

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