It is now official.
Brian Gionta has been announced as the Montreal Canadiens 28th Captain. And cheers go up in Montreal. Not to mention a few "whew"s being overheard around the city.
This is Gionta's 9th season in the NHL. He was drafted 82nd overall by the New Jersey Devils in the 1998 Entry Draft, playing with the club from the 2001 season, till signing with Montreal at the beginning of 2009.
Even as one of the smaller players in the NHL (Only Nathan Gerbe is officially listed as smaller), he has been known throughout all of his hockey career as a fierce competitor, and a gutsy player. Although known as "Gio" to fellow team-mates, he was also dubbed as the Rochester Rocket by media.
Brian tallied 28 regular season goals last year, and 18 assists in 61 games. He added 9 more goals and 6 assists in the 2009-2010 playoffs over a course of 19 games. But aside from his abilities on the ice, it's his calm and professional leadership that will greatly benefit this franchise as they head into their 101st season.
Clearly leadership will not be the sole responsibilty of the team Captain either. Confirmation has also been made that Hall Gill and Andrei Markov will assist in those duties, as they don the "A" on their jerseys. This will be Markov's 10th year with Les Habitants, and Gill's 2nd.
After a full year without a Captain - the first time in their 100 year history - the announcement was received without any hesitation by Habs fans around the globe!
Felicitations Capitaine Brian Gionta et Bonne Chance!