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There is a tradition on Long Island and when the New York Islanders are mentioned, a few names always pop up. Ed Westfall, Clark Gillies and Denis Potvin are just some to be named. The Islanders first took shape in 1972 and named Ed Westfall as their first captain. Flash forward 40 years later and the Islanders have named their 13th Captain, Mark Streit.
“Being named the captain is a huge honor and a great privilege. There’s never been a Swiss player named captain in the NHL and it’s a big honor,” said Streit.
The Islanders are a struggling team and have been caught in a limbo the past few years in regards to their roster. The team has finally managed to compile a complete set of guys that have what it take to be a playoff team. With the retirement of Doug Weight at the end of the last season, the Islanders were left with out a Captain.
On September 21st, Charles Wang, Jack Capuano, Garth Snow and the media piled in to a press conference for the unveiling of the Islanders 13th Captain. Some speculations were Kyle Okposo, Rick DiPietro or the newly re-signed John Tavares. During the conference Mark Streit managed to quietly slip away from the locker room and waited for his name to be called. Mark Streit will be leading the Islanders this year and hopefully for many more to come. Streit did not play last season due to an injury. He is now completely healthy and ready to take over the Captain’s duties. Some say Streit isn’t cut out to be captain, but taking a look back at Streit’s career, he has the numbers and the leadership to wear that “C” proudly.
Mark Streit was drafted in 2004 by the Montreal Canadiens, making his debut during the 2005-06 season due to the lockout of 2005. July 1st 2008 Streit was declared a free agent and signed a five year deal with the Islanders. Since than Streit has lead his team in points every season he has played. To the naysayers who do not think Streit has leadership qualities, lets go back to 2006. Streit lead the Swiss team as their Captain in the Winter Olympics. The team made it to the quarter finals but were knocked off by Sweden. Streit returned to his stomping grounds of Switzerland in 2010 to once again lead his team. Switzerland made it to the quarter finals but were knocked off by the United States.
Streit has also worn the “A” on his sweater the past few seasons along with Kyle Okposo. Streit had also filled in as acting Captain on a few occasions when the likes of Doug Weight and Bill Guerin were injured. This year’s Alternate Captains have yet to be announced, but you can bet that with Streit leading the team, greatness will come again.