CALGARY -- The Calgary Flames have a new face.
The Flames named defenseman Mark Giordano the 19th captain in franchise history Friday. It's a role that had been left open since the team traded longtime captain Jarome Iginla to the Pittsburgh Penguins last season.
It was a pleasant, but unexpected honor for the 29-year-old.
"It was pretty humbling to me that people in the organization think that highly of me," said Giordano, who said the last time he captained a team was in minor bantam. "Just to even be considered was huge, and then to be picked, I feel humbled and I feel like I can be a good leader.
"It's one of the best days in my career, for sure. We have a lot of good leaders on our team and a lot of veteran guys and I'm going to get a lot of help in the area of leadership, but to be considered and named, it's very humbling."
Calgary Flames coach Bob Hartley said he didn't need long to know that defenseman Mark Giordano was the best option to be the team's new captain. (Photo: John Russell/NHLI)
Signed by the Flames as an undrafted free agent in July 2004, Giordano has 41 goals and 150 points in 385 NHL games, all with the Flames.
He won't be alone in the leadership group; it also was announced Mike Cammalleri and Curtis Glencross were named alternate captains.
"We have a lot of great leaders in our dressing room and [Cammalleri and Glencross] are obviously two of those guys," Giordano said. "They can be standing right here today in my position and it would've been a great choice as well. I'm going to get their help, but there are guys like [Matt Stajan], [Lee Stempniak], [Brian McGrattan]. You could go right through our lineup; there's a lot of great leaders who have been around for a long time."
But coach Bob Hartley opted to put the "C" on Giordano and said it wasn't a difficult call.
"I felt there was no sense wasting paper to go through a vote," Hartley said. "I think it was pretty unanimous throughout the entire organization.
"A captain should be an example of what you want to get accomplished in the organization. Here's a guy that works non-stop. He's always there for the others. He never complains. There's never a bad day for Gio [Giordano]. Whenever you sit with him, he doesn't have the whiny look or anything. It's, 'Let's do it,' and we do it as a pro."
Though the team went without a captain after Iginla's departure, it didn't take long for Hartley to settle on Giordano. In fact, he intentionally waited until after the Flames' first round of cuts to anoint his defenseman as the team's leader.
"We wanted to do it really with a small group … a group that feels like they can work with Gio maybe tomorrow, maybe next week, maybe next month.
Defense - CGY
GOALS: 4 | ASST: 11 | PTS: 15
SOG: 58 | +/-: -7
"And we wanted to make it in a formal way. To become captain of an NHL team is very prestigious. Gio doesn't really care about the prestige. I remember when I sat with Gio last year and kind of mentioned that he would be our captain, his eyes … he didn't move for probably 10, 15 seconds. He was stunned. That's what it is. It's a big honor. It's a big job. Gio's going to be unbelievable at it."
It's a long time coming for Giordano, who was signed by the Flames after his junior career with the Owen Sound Attack of the Ontario Hockey League ended nine years ago.
Now he's tasked with guiding the Flames through the first portion of a rebuilding process after the departure of Iginla and Jay Bouwmeester last season and goaltender Miikka Kiprusoff's retirement in early September.
"Obviously I would have never thought that this day would come," Giordano said. "I think just our team, the direction we're going in, it's pretty cool. It's a big responsibility obviously and it's pretty cool that the organization feels that way about me. Great teammates, great players around me and we're excited. It feels real fresh.
"It feels like a change in direction this year with our team and we feel if we do things the right way, we can make some noise this year."