Robb Fenton/Courtesy of lloydminstersource.com
Being a leader is more than just scoring a big goal, blocking a shot or throwing the big hit.
It's more than giving a motivational speech before a game, or during an intermission and it's more than knowing exactly what to say and when to say it. Being a leader is all of those things wrapped into one.
And for Lloydminster Bobcats forward Casey Knight, being a leader is something he takes a lot of pride in. Knight was recently named the Bobcats captain, and in his final season, it is something special for the 20-year-old St. Walburg, Sask. native.
“It's a big honour. I was really happy that I got the 'C.' I have tried to be a leader the past three years I've been here. I looked up to a lot of of the vets I used to have and I look up to a lot of veterans in the room right now,” Knight said last week. “I'm just glad the young guys can look to me as a leader and I'll help them out the best I can.”
Knight is in his third season as a member of the Bobcats and so far the speedy winger has put up 29 points in 115 games, including 14 goals.
He has also tallied 153 penalty minutes thanks to his rugged and physical play that often causes trouble for opponents, especially deep in the offensive end where Knight is tenacious on the forecheck.
Though still relatively new to most of his roster, Bobcats head coach Ryan Parent has been impressed by what Knight brings to the table.
He said the way Knight plays is the way the rest of the team has to if they want to be successful this season.
“He's an aggressive player, he likes to play an aggressive game. He commits to making hard plays and that's the type of team we're going to have to be. Your captain shows by example and we're going to ask the other guys to follow him,” Parent explained.
This is Knight's second season with a letter on his jersey, but first with the 'C.'
Last year he wore an 'A' for much of the season, along with three other players who shared the role of assistant captain.
Knight said while it's a new experience personally and every season is different, he has learned a lot from some of the leaders he's played with in the past.
“In my first year, Steve Dobbin and (Kevin) Deagle and those guys, and the veterans we had last year were great guys. Harry (Kyle Harris) was a stand-up guy. And Tanner would do anything for the team,” Knight said of leaders he looked up to the past two seasons. “I learned a lot from those guys and you just have to lay it all out in the line.”
Knight's hard work and hustle make him not only a favourite with teammates and coaches, but also with the fans, who have appreciated his dedication to the team over his career.
Parent said one thing that stood out for him when the team was searching for a captain was what Knight's teammates had to say about him.
It's one thing for a coach to like a player, but when teammates are speaking highly of that player, it's something to take note of.
“His peers ultimately determined that (his captaincy). He was a new player for me, so certainly there were some questions to be asked as far as where he stands in our lineup and everything that his peers told me about him certainly, he's answered the bell, no question,” Parent said, speaking highly of Knight.
One thing that Knight is confident of is the fact that his teammates will help him along the way this season, both on the ice and off it, as a leader.
“If I can't the other veterans will,” Knight said of guiding this team to success and helping out the rookies.
As this year's captain, Knight likes what the team looks like and has high hopes for the team and himself.
The goal is a simple one for Knight.
“I want us to have a deep playoff run,” he quickly answered when asked about expectations for the season. “The community deserves it, the guys in the dressing room deserve it. I want to be open for the young guys who may have questions. Hopefully I can help them, or the coaching staff can or, like I said, the other veterans – (Mitch) Gartner, (Grant) Baker, Woz (Jordyn Wozniak) – those guys.”
– Robb Fenton (The Source)