After deciding against choosing a replacement for the retired Adam Foote to start the season, the Colorado Avalanche named Milan Hejduk the third captain in the team's history Monday.
The 35-year-old Hejduk and Paul Stastny had been serving as alternate captains. Hejduk will wear the "C" for the first time Tuesday when the Avalanche face the Pittsburgh Penguins.
"Milan is a player who leads by example both on and off the ice," Avalanche coach Joe Sacco said. "He is a product of this organization and won a Stanley Cup with this franchise. He is well-respected among his teammates and we feel he deserves this opportunity and responsibility."
Hejduk, who has served as one of the permanent alternate captains since 2008-09, joins Joe Sakic and Adam Foote as the only captains the Avalanche have ever had. Overall, Hejduk is just the 10th captain in the franchise's 32-year history. The Usti-nad Labem, Czech Republic native joins Peter Stastny as the only European-born captains in franchise history.
"I'm honored to be named Avalanche captain," Hejduk said. "From my rookie season here in Colorado, I have always felt a great sense of pride wearing this sweater and being a part of this organization. I am looking forward to this added responsibility."
Hejduk, who won a Stanley Cup with Colorado in 2001, ranks third in franchise history in games (927), is fourth in goals (364) and points (769), and fifth in assists (405). He is the franchise's all-time leader in regular-season overtime goals with 9 and his 59 career game-winning tallies rank second behind only Sakic (86). Hejduk sits third in franchise history with 136 power-play goals.
The Florida Panthers are now the only NHL team without a captain.