READING, PA – With the 2017-18 hockey season set to get underway, one question on the minds of most hockey fans is who will be the captain of their team. For some, it’s a no-brainer on who the captain should be, but the same can’t be said for the Reading Royals.
During the offseason, the Royals lost a hand full of veterans to overseas or to retirement making it difficult for Kirk MacDonald and Patrick Wellar to find someone to wear the “C” on his jersey. Since fan favorite Yannick Tifu left the Royals following the 2013-14 season, all of the team’s captains since have been defensemen starting with Bryant Molle for the 14-15 season, Maxim Lamarche for the 2015-16 season, and Mike Marcou last season.
When the Royals lost Marcou for eight weeks last season with a broken jaw, the team went with three alternate captains and it stayed that way for most of the season. One of those who wore the “A” on his jersey was Nick Luukko who has a legitimate shot of being the next Royals captain.
Drafted by the Philadelphia Flyers in the sixth round of the 2010 NHL Draft, Nick is the son of former Flyers president Peter Luukko. The West Chester native has spent the past two seasons in Reading where he has put up 34 points (10G, 24A) in 135 regular season games. Being a fan favorite should also help Luukko’s case in becoming the next Royals captain.
Now, as for the two alternate captains should be, one of them should go to Ryan Penny. Penny was an alternate captain for the team most of the season and he was the only member of the team to play in all 72 regular season games. As for who gets the other “A,” it could possibly go to a guy that the Lehigh Valley Phantoms will send down either Matt Willows who played very well for the Royals last season after being acquired from the Allen Americans or the Reading, PA native Steven Swavely. Fans should keep an eye on Scott Tanski, Adam Schmidt, and Derek Whitmore as potential dark horses to be the other alternate captain as well.
The Royals will begin their quest for the Kelly Cup on Saturday, October 21 against the Adirondack Thunder inside the Santander Arena, with puck drop set for 4 PM.