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By Tony Saxon, Guelph Mercury
Matt Finn isn’t going to make big speeches, get in a teammate’s face or carry the team on his back. But he will lead by example.
On Tuesday the Guelph Storm named the 18-year-old Toronto native the team’s captain for this season and likely next.
“It means a lot to me. I guess whatever I’ve been doing has been right in a positive direction for this team and I just need to keep doing what I’ve been doing,” Finn said Wednesday as the team prepared for Thursday’s exhibition game in Brampton.
“You can’t change the way you are because you have a letter. To me it means a lot because it’s being recognized for being the type of person and player I am.”
Finn and assistant captains Zack Mitchell, Brock McGinn and Ryan Horvat were pulled into coach Scott Walker’s office prior to practice and given the news. It is the first time Finn has captained a team at any level.
“My first time wearing the ‘C’,” Finn said.
The Storm has a strong, cohesive group of leaders, some wearing letters, some not.
Finn, an assistant captain last year, said its leadership by committee in the Storm dressing room.
“There’s a huge respect amongst the players and coaches on this team. We have a great peer group here, that’s why it’s pretty cool to be selected from this group,” said Finn, a second round draft pick of the Toronto Maple Leafs last June.
“We wanted someone we could groom for a couple of years,” Walker said.
“I told him, when you’re going to lead it doesn’t mean you have to start throwing people around. You just have to hold people a little bit more accountable. Make sure they’re on time ... run the stairs with them ... just lead by example.”
The players had input into the decision.
After discussing potential captains with his assistants and general manager Mike Kelly, Walker handed out slips of paper to the Storm players asking them to vote for captains and assistants.
Walker said he was pleased that the players agreed on Finn, Mitchell and McGinn, who he had as his choices.
The pleasant surprise was how highly teammates rated Horvat, leading the team to check with the OHL head office to make sure having three assistants was OK.
“Ryan Horvat was right in the group. I love Ryan, I just wasn’t sure you could have three,” Walker said.
Walker said the player he is most pleasantly surprised by this year is Mitchell. He said the veteran winger has come into camp this year with an outstanding attitude.