Don’t expect Joey Mormina to bust into the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins locker room today and give his teammates a long-winded victory speech.
Just because he was named the 18th captain in franchise history on Tuesday, that’s simply not Mormina’s style.
But what his teammates can expect from Mormina as he wears the “C” is more of the same. He’ll still lead by example on the ice, be vocal in the locker room when the situation calls for it and be the first one volunteering to visit a hospital, help a charity or do anything else he can to represent the team in the community.
“I’m not going to have a miracle speech,” he said. “I don’t think my message is going to change. It’s the same as its been all year — we need to keep improving, be consistent and play to our identity. Do things the right way both on and off the ice.”
Thanks to a vote by the players, Mormina, 30, was named the team’s captain on Tuesday while D Dylan Reese, C Warren Peters and C Trevor Smith were tabbed as the assistants. The move comes late in the season, but coach John Hynes said he felt the time was right to name an official leader.
“We had so many lineup changes this season along with the lockout, and now this is more of our formalized group. We have 22 games left and this is the time you need that strong direction in the room,” Hynes said, adding it was important to let the players vote on the matter. “You want it to come from them. They see things away from the rink and the locker room that we as coaches may not always see.”
The fact that his teammates named him captain made it extra special for Mormina, who is now in his second stint and fourth season with the Penguins.
“It’s always nice when your peers respect you in that way. At times during the year I kind of questioned my role with the team, but the guys continued to show support and believe in me,” he said. “It’s a special honor, considering some of the great captains that this team has had.”
Mormina mentioned past captains Ryan Craig, Dave Gove and Alain Nasreddine as those he is honored to follow. Mormina was teammates with Craig during his last two seasons as the Penguins captain and said he learned a lot about being a leader from Craig.
“Our families hung out quite a bit together and I got to know him well,” Mormina said. “He showed up every day and every game, no matter how he felt, and said and did all the right things on and off the ice.”
While Mormina will continue to lead by example on the ice, he’ll also stay involved representing the team in the community — another important element of not only being a captain, but a pro hockey player as well.
“I’ve always enjoyed doing things with the community and it’s important to me to be the first guy in line when those things come up,” Mormina said. “It’s a way to show appreciation for the support we get.”