Trevor Esau may have put the C on his Prince George Spruce Kings' jersey for the first time this month but he earned it three seasons ago.
The 20-year-old newly named captain of the BCHL squad made a good first impression on head coach Dave Dupas when the latter was hired at the midway point of the Kings disastrous 2010-11 season.
"When I came here I didn't know the players; I didn't know the city," said Dupas. "I knew him right away just by the way he was and what kind of guy he was. I knew that I had somebody I could trust in the room to do the right thing. When you have somebody you can trust in the room to do the right thing it makes it much easier on a coach."
Dupas and the coaching staff labeled the six-foot-four, 220-pound defenceman with the C.
"I'm sure if it went to the players it would've been their decision also," said Dupas. "He's been through the good and the bad. He's a P.G. guy through and through."
The farm boy from Abbotsford has spent three seasons with the Spruce Kings, playing in 112 games while piling up 26 assists (27 points) and 213 penalty minutes.
"It's a big responsibility and I was honoured to have it," said Esau about wearing the C. "I've just got to keep leading by example and keep going out and playing hard."
Since he was with the Kings when Dupas first came on board, Esau said he knows what style of hockey the coach wants the team to play and he can relay the message to his teammates. The trust also works in reverse.
"I'm here in the dressing room and if he needs something to be told to the boys I'll be here to pass on the message and I'll be able to pass anything on that the players want to the coach," he said.
Esau said he's trying to follow the winning formula last year's leaders provided.
"They wanted to win every single night and that's what I've got to take from them - I've got to go out there and just play my best and show my emotion on the ice like they did," he said.
So far this year's Kings team has found the winning formula, getting of to a 3-0-0-1 start to the season. The Kings will go for win No. 4 today at the Coliseum when the Merritt Centennials (2-1-0) visit, 7:30 p.m., in the team's final home game until Oct. 12.
One difference the new captain likes so far is the atmosphere in the dressing room this season.
"Everyone's close there's no cliques this year, last year we kind of had a problem with that, but this year everyone's tight, close and friendly," said Esau. "I think it shows on the ice."
In a perfect world Esau would come out of this BCHL season with a college scholarship where he could continue to play hockey for the next four years. Esau will have to wait to find out if it's a perfect world, but Dupas has no doubt in his captain.
"He's a perfect leader for us," said Dupas.