Oliver Cooper is the new captain of the Charlottetown Islanders.
Head coach Jim Hulton made the announcement at the beginning of Thursday's practice. Cooper takes over for Quinn O'Brien, who broke a bone in his wrist in December and has had season-ending surgery.
"I think he's an easy, logical choice to take over for Quinn," Hulton said. "He's been a core member of our leadership group all season. It's a natural fit for us and the team."
Hulton said there were only a couple of votes separating O'Brien and Cooper at the beginning of the season when the players voted. Given the circumstances of having to name a new captain mid-season, Hulton said it was a staff decision this time around.
They informed Cooper minutes before the team took the ice.
Players slammed their sticks on the ice as Hulton made the announcement at the Eastlink Centre.
"It's definitely an honour. It's something you kind of dream about as a kid," said Cooper, who was an assistant captain since joining the Islanders.
The 20-year-old Fredericton, N.B., native is in his fifth season in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League and second with the Islanders after starting his career with the Saint John Sea Dogs.
He has 20 goals and 19 assists for 39 points in 46 games.
Cooper, who is bilingual, said he sees himself as an approachable guy who likes to get everyone involved.
He said regardless if a player is wearing a letter, everyone can be leaders on and off the ice.
"There's tons of guys in that room that would have been great choices to be the captain," he said.
Hulton said Cooper earned the right to be the captain by being himself, and they don't want that to change.
"He's really hard on himself by nature," the coach said. "We told him this doesn't change anything. We're switching you from a vowel to a consonant."
Cooper said he's had some great captains while playing major junior, including last year.
"Ryan MacKinnon was probably one of the best captains in the CHL," Cooper said. "I learned a lot from him."
The list also includes Jonathan Huberdeau, Pierre Durepos and goalie Sebastien Auger during his Sea Dogs days.
"That guy was just a prime example of a captain," Cooper said of Auger. "He does everything right. He's the hardest-working guy on and off the ice."
Dexter Weber, Kameron Kielly and Daniel Sprong remain assistants.
A look at past captains of the Charlottetown Islanders/P.E.I. Rocket franchise.
2015-16 - Quinn O'Brien
2014-15 - Ryan MacKinnon
2013-14 - Jack Nevins
2012-13 - Josh Currie
2011-12 - Matthew Hobbs, Josh Currie
2010-11 - Travis McIsaac
2009-10 - Jean-Philippe Mathieu
2008-09 - Matthew Lachaine, Maxime Provencher and Joel Champagne
2007-08 - Pierre-Luc Lessard, Bryan Main, Geoff Walker and Matthew Lachaine
2006-07 - David Laliberte, Marc-André Gragnani
2005-06 - David Laliberte
2004-05 - Maxim Lapierre
2003-04 - Pierre-André Bureau
2002-03 - Pierre-André Bureau
Source - Wikipedia