The first time Colten Teubert pulled on a Regina Pats' jersey, he was branded as a future captain — a prototypical leader born to wear the C.
He's about to claim that birthright.
After running without a captain since the start of the regular season, the Pats are expected to pin the C on Teubert's No. 20 jersey in time for Wednesday's game against the visiting Brandon Wheat Kings. An official announcement could come as early as today.
"I would be honoured," said Teubert, who hadn't been informed of his imminent promotion. "You look at the players who have worn the C for this organization. Rick Rypien, Barret Jackman, Garth Murray, those are three names off the top of my head just from recent history. To have the opportunity to be part of that group would be unbelievable. Since Day 1 (in Regina), I've always felt like I was a leader in the dressing room and if it comes down to (becoming captain) I'll be pretty excited."
Despite his leadership qualities, there was a time last season when it looked like Teubert might not ascend to the captaincy. However, the colourful blueliner has matured over the past year, an evolution that opened the door to his impending inauguration.
"When I went down to California last year in the East Coast League it really helped my game, just to realize what it takes to be a pro," Teubert explained. "Everybody makes mistakes. I've made mistakes and I've just grown up. I've matured as a person. I've gotten better as an athlete too. I've raised my game just with commitment to my training, commitment to the team game and being a positive guy. Sometimes your competitive nature gets the best of you and you say things you regret. But it has been my road to what I am and my makeup as a player and a person."
After former captain Victor Bartley graduated last season, Regina declared an open competition for the C while rotating A's between Teubert, Jordan Eberle, Brett Leffler, Garrett Mitchell and Matt Delahey (who was traded Sunday). Teubert and Eberle have worn an 'A' in Regina for each of the past two seasons and did the same with Canada at this year's world junior championship. The Pats decided not to name a new captain until after Sunday's trade deadline due to the uncertainty of which players from the leadership group would remain.
As the face of the franchise, Eberle would have been a natural choice, but there's a school of thought that he doesn't need any more pressure or attention heaped on his shoulders. Eberle confirmed Monday that he would happily step into the background to make room for Teubert. In fact, he formally endorsed his close friend for the captaincy in a recent discussion with the Pats' brass.
"Teubs is the kind of guy who will be the first one to back you up," noted Eberle. "He has done it for me tons of times. Huntsy said it a good way, 'He's the man.' He's just a good leader and a good guy. For me, I like to think of myself as someone who leads on the ice, leads by example. When the team needs a goal, I always want to be the guy to step up and do it. I think the biggest thing I can do for this team is play hard and put the puck in the net."
Teubert and Eberle were quick to point out that Leffler and Mitchell would both be excellent choices to wear the C as well. Mitchell is regarded as the captain of the future, but Teubert's time is now.
"I feel like I'm a pretty competitive guy and I'll do whatever it takes for my teammates," he added, comparing the captaincy to being at home with his siblings. "I'm like a big brother. When your little brother is in trouble, you'll do whatever it takes to get him out of it or support them. As a team, we're a family. Me, Ebs, Leffs and the other older guys on the team are the big brothers and we have to take care of our teammates. I like to be that guy who takes responsibility."