A new hockey season is just around the corner and the Winnipeg Jets made a not-so-common announcement on Friday.
Blake Wheeler has been the captain of the Jets since Andrew Ladd was traded to the Blackhawks in February 2016. On Friday the Jets not only announced that Wheeler will no longer wear the 'C' but that nobody will be the captain of the team as the season gets underway.
"It is the determination of the coaching staff that we will enter the 2022-23 season without a specific captain," Jets' new head coach, Rick Bowness says.
According to Bowness, the team will instead run with "a group of assistants still to be determined."
There have been rumblings for a few seasons, now, that something isn't right in the Jets' locker room. That's something most high-profile players on the team have denied. But it is fair to say the Jets haven't lived up to their potential as of late.
Bowness says that he hopes to create a new culture in the team and open the door for more people to step up into leadership.
"It is our goal to expand the leadership base within our hockey team. We have high expectations for our core players and we want to provide them with the opportunity to step into those greater leadership roles as a group."
Both Bowness and Wheeler are expected to speak to media Friday afternoon.
Jets rookie camp has just gotten underway with rookies skating for the first time on Sept. 14, and the main training camp will get underway on Sept. 22. The team's annual fan forum takes place on Saturday at the Bell MTS Iceplex.
The Jets, who went 39-32-11 last season, will open up the regular season at home on Oct. 14 when they host the New York Rangers.