GLENDALE – Defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson and forward Kyle Chipchura are the new alternate captains for the Coyotes following the trades of Keith Yandle and Antoine Vermette last weekend.
“It’s a big honor and it means a lot to me," Ekman-Larsson said. "But, nothing’s going to change. I’m going to be the same guy and the same player. You don’t have to be loud to be a leader. I’m just going to try to help lead out on the ice."
Ekman-Larsson, 23, leads the Coyotes with 17 goals and co-leads with 31 points. The 2015 NHL All-Star was a no-brainer to receive an ‘A’ for his sweater.
"He’s a franchise player for us," Head Coach Dave Tippett said. "His growth with our group has been obvious. He’s a top player and he takes the responsibility that a top player takes. He wants to win with this organization and he is committed to this organization, and if you look at everything you want in a leader and how you want your team to be perceived, that fits into Oliver’s repertoire. He was the obvious choice."
Tippett said Chipchura, 29, also is a worthy recipient.
"You ask anybody in that locker room - he's a rock-solid guy," Tippett said. "He just does anything for teammates and just works every day. He's a real good pro. Right now, he's a guy that can be a stabilizer in that room for us."
Chipchura is no stranger to wearing a letter on his sweater. In 2006, he served as captain of Team Canada’s gold-medal winning team at the IIHF World Junior Championship.
"It’s definitely an honor and I’m proud to be able to wear a letter for the Coyotes and to wear a letter in the NHL," Chipchura said. "It’s a privilege to play in the NHL every night. It’s not the most fun situation that we’re in right now, but we have to be professionals and do our best to win some games. To be able to wear a letter for this team, even if it’s just for the remainder of the season, is something I take seriously and that I’m proud to do."