It didn't come as a surprise when the Prince George Cougars named Brock Hirsche their captain for the 2012-13 season.
The 20-year-old is heading into his fourth WHL season with the Cougars and showed his dedication to the organization and leadership abilities last season when he stepped up as assistant coach next to Dean Clark and Jason Becker for several games after season-ending shoulder surgery in December.
Hirsche said having the experience of working side-by-side with the coaches should help him in his new role which was announced Thursday.
"I felt like the guys respected me so if I had some positive criticism I could pass it on to them," he said. "To be named captain of a WHL team is a dream come true, it's pretty surreal. I'm really excited and fortunate that this happened."
Clark said each of the players were polled on their opinion about the captaincy and Hirsche was the unanimous choice, which matched up with his own viewpoint.
"He's been a real student of the game," said Clark. "I think he really understands the direction that I want to take the team and when you have that understanding in your dressing room it just makes the message getting through that much clearer."
In his four seasons with the Cougars the Lethbridge, Alta. product, has played in 149 games contributing 23 goals and 55 points. In seven playoff games Hirsche has two helpers.
Clark said the experience Hirsche received stepping behind the bench and inside coaches' meetings last season should help bridge the gap between the coaches and players.
"I think he gained a better perspective on what it's like for a coach to communicate to a player," said Clark. "I think he understands that might not be the easiest thing to do all the time."
The Cougars also named 20-year-old defencemen Dan Gibb, a four-year veteran of the club, and Dallas Ehrhardt, acquired in a trade from Moose Jaw, along with 18-year-old left-winger Troy Bourke as assistant captains.
"All four lead in different ways with Brock being a good presence in the dressing room and Troy and Dan Gibb will probably do more leading with how they play on the ice and Dallas is obviously a presence in himself with the size that he brings and the respect that he garners around the league," said Clark.
Hirsche will return to the ice in a regular season game to lead the Cougars Saturday and Sunday in Everett - the place his 2011-12 season ended last November - with a pair of games against the Silvertips.
"It's been a long off season, longer than I wanted, but now that it's finally here I can't wait to get it going," said Hirsche.