SYRACUSE, N.Y. - The Syracuse Crunch have announced defenseman Luke Witkowski has been named captain for the 2016-17 season. Additionally, forward Gabriel Dumont has been named a permanent alternate captain.
"Luke is a great guy. He is a big brother for his teammates," said Crunch Head Coach Benoit Groulx. "He embodies the culture we have implemented here and he is well respected by his teammates. Luke is well connected in the community, so overall it was an easy choice. I think he fits the roll perfectly."
Witkowski, 26, is entering his fourth full season with the Crunch. During the 2015-16 season, the defenseman served as an alternate captain.
"I am very pleased," said Witkowski. "I wanted that position. I want to be the captain, so I am very happy. I know that I'm one of the players that have been here the longest and the guys look up to me. I think it means I need to keep doing what I've done in the past. I need to bring my effort every night, play hard, talk at the right times and be a good example."
Witkowski, 6-foot-2, 200 pounds, played in 70 games with the Syracuse Crunch last season, recording three goals and 14 points. He ranked third on the team for games played and led all blue-liners for plus/minus with a plus-2 rating. Witkowski also appeared in four games with the Lightning in 2015-16. He made his Stanley Cup Playoff debut, skating in two games during the second round against the New York Islanders.
A native of Holland, Michigan, Witkowski has played in 20 career NHL games, all with the Lightning, during the previous two seasons, registering 19 penalty minutes. He has amassed 201 career AHL games, all with Syracuse, posting seven goals, 35 points and 467 penalty minutes. Witkowski has skated in three career Calder Cup Playoff games, all during the 2015 playoffs, and recorded an assist. He was drafted in the sixth round, 160th overall, of the 2008 NHL Draft.
Prior to his professional career, Witkowski spent four years at Western Michigan University. He was named captain during his junior and senior seasons from 2011 to 2013. He was also captain of the Fargo Force of the USHL in the 2008-09 season.
Witkowski is the 19th full-time team captain in Crunch franchise history and the second since Syracuse affiliated with the Tampa Bay Lightning in 2012. He follows Mike Angelidis, who served as captain for the Crunch from 2012 to 2016. Dumont will serve as a permanent alternate captain for the Crunch. The second alternate captain will be a rotating position.