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Coyotes Announce Leadership Group for 2017-18 Season

Oliver Ekman-Larsson, Niklas Hjalmarsson, Derek Stepan, Brad Richardson and Alex Goligoski to serve as alternate captains

by Arizona Coyotes @ArizonaCoyotes / Arizona Coyotes

Wednesday, October 4, 2017
GLENDALE, ARIZONA --- Arizona Coyotes President of Hockey Operations and General Manager John Chayka and Head Coach Rick Tocchet announced today that defensemen Oliver Ekman-Larsson and Niklas Hjalmarsson will serve as alternate captains to start the 2017-18 NHL season. In addition, centers Derek Stepan and Brad Richardson, along with defenseman Alex Goligoski, will serve as alternate captains on a rotating basis. The Coyotes will not have a designated captain to begin the season. Coyotes Head Coach Rick Tocchet will determine which player will wear the additional "A" on a game to game basis.

"After numerous discussions and thorough evaluation during training camp, Rick and I have decided that it's best to go with five alternate captains to start the season," said Chayka. "With a new head coach and several new players joining the organization, this will be a transition year as far as leadership is concerned. Fortunately, we have a very strong leadership group in our dressing room and collectively, we're confident that these players will do an excellent job leading our team on and off the ice."

"This is a great opportunity for Oliver, Nik, Derek, Brad and Alex to step up and demonstrate their leadership abilities," said Coyotes Head Coach Rick Tocchet. "We need everyone in our room to lead but these five players are all great people and have the necessary NHL experience to collectively guide our team. I'm excited for them and the challenge ahead."

Video: Tocchet on Yotes' Leadership Group

Ekman-Larsson led the Coyotes to the 2012 Western Conference Final and was named to the 2015 NHL All-Star game. The 26-year old native of Karlskrona, Sweden has been an Alternate Captain with the Coyotes since March of 2015. Ekman-Larsson has registered 88-160-248 and 316 penalty minutes (PIM) in 494 career games with the team and holds the NHL record for most game-winning goals in a season by a defenseman with eight GWG's during the 2015-16 campaign.

Video: OEL: 'Don't Need a C to be a Leader'

Hjalmarsson won three Stanley Cup championships with the Chicago Blackhawks and helped lead the team to the Stanley Cup playoffs in each of the past nine seasons. The 30-year old native of Eksjo, Sweden also earned an Olympic Silver Medal with Team Sweden at the 2014 Winter Olympics. Hjalmarsson has totaled 23-120-143 and 238 PIM in 623 career NHL games, all with the Blackhawks.

Video: Hjalmarsson on Alternate Captaincy

Stepan led the New York Rangers to the 2014 Stanley Cup Final and has skated in seven consecutive Stanley Cup playoffs. The 27-year old native of Hastings, Minnesota was an Alternate Captain with the New York Rangers since October of 2014. He also served as the captain of the United States team at the 2010 IIHF World U20 Championships. Stepan has recorded 128-232-360 and 130 PIM in 515 career NHL games, all with the Rangers.

Richardson won a Stanley Cup with the Los Angeles Kings in 2012 and has skated in 50 career Stanley Cup playoff games. The 32-year-old native of Belleville, Ontario is entering his 13th NHL season and his third with the Coyotes. He has registered 78-111-189 in 607 career NHL games with the Coyotes, Kings, Vancouver Canucks and Colorado Avalanche.

Goligoski won the 2009 Stanley Cup with the Pittsburgh Penguins and has been to the Stanley Cup playoffs on four different occasions. The 32-year-old native of Grand Rapids, Minnesota was an Alternate Captain with the Dallas Stars during the 2015-16 season. Goligoski has registered 61-252-313 and 228 PIM in 644 career NHL games with the Coyotes, Stars and Penguins.

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