Kelowna Minor Hockey product Anthony Ruggiero will follow in the foot-steps of several Kelowna players that have worn the C as the captain of the Kelowna Chiefs junior B team.
The Chiefs named the 19-year-old Ruggiero its captain this week and the KMHA product will be on the ground all summer taking part in community events for the Chiefs.
“He’s a good leader, a good competitive guy and he’s local,” said Chiefs general manager Grant Sheridan. “We do a lot of community events all summer so we need to have a guy on the ground who is here to take part in the those events and lead some of these young guys.”
After being acquired in a trade with North Okanagan near the end of the season, the 6-foot-1, 190 pound Ruggeiro impressed the KIJHL’s Chiefs with solid play and leadership down the stretch, despite some nagging injuries.
He managed two assists in the final 15 regular season games after playing the first 33 games with the North Okanagan Knights.
“He played most of the end of the season and the playoffs banged up and it was never an issue,” said Sheridan. “We were really happy with his work ethic and his ability to compete.”
Ruggiero replaces Jordan Salahor as Chiefs captain and follows in the foot-steps of several local captains the team has had in its history, including Kyle Clerke and Dane Rupert.
“We want someone here to support the community and create a buzz about the team,” said Sheridan.
The Chiefs are taking part in several community events throughout the season. This past week they were involved in McHappy Days and there are also plans to take part in the annual May Days Parade and a handful of other events this summer.
The team is also coming off what Sheridan called the best spring camp the team has ever held in terms of the quality of players that took part in the camp at the end of April. Several players will be invited to the Chiefs main camp at the end of August.