MIAMI (CBSMiami) – We knew that the Florida Panthers would have a new captain for the 2014-15 season when the team bought out the final year of former captain Ed Jovanovski’s contract.
On Monday, new Panthers head coach Gerard Gallant announced who would be replacing Jovanovski and become just the eighth captain in franchise history.READ MORE: South Florida Man Accused Of Setting Wife On Fire, Hitting Her With His Car
Willie Mitchell, one of the newest members of the Panthers, will wear the “C” on his jersey for Florida this season.
Mitchell received the news in a very special way.
The Panthers are spending the final days before the season begins training together at the U.S. Military Academy in West Point, New York.
After hiking to the top of Mount Tourne, Mitchell was handed a red Panthers jersey with a “C” on the front and his name on the back. It was a uniquely wonderful way to be given this news, surrounded by teammates while standing atop a mountain.READ MORE: Opa-locka Hialeah Flea Market Vendors: 'We have to leave like dogs'
“It’s flattering in one sense but it’s also a big responsibility,” Mitchell told reporters. “I haven’t chatted with a lot of people about it so it kind of caught me off guard. I heard grumblings, but I was a bit surprised at the top of the hill. It’s not something I’m going to take lightly. When you wear that, it’s an honor. A lot of great people in the league represent their team that way.”
Gallant also announced who would be Mitchell’s assistant captains. For home games, Scottie Upshall and Dave Bolland will wear the “A’s” while Derek MacKenzie and Brian Campbell will handle the duties while on the road.
Since arriving in Florida, Mitchell has shown great leadership qualities both on and off the ice. The two-time Stanley Cup champion has been around the league for a long time and has a lot to offer the Panthers young core.
“It was really important for us to go after guys like Willie who are not only great hockey players, but great guys in the room as well,” said goalie Roberto Luongo. “Willie has been there, knows what it takes, knows what a winning locker room looks and feels like. There are some things people may not see off the ice. Helping these young kids see what they need to do is important.”MORE NEWS: Taste Of The Town: Ball And Chain Serving Up Cuban Classics With A Side OF Salsa Music For 8 Decades
[display-posts category=”panthers” wrapper=”ul” posts_per_page=”5″]