Sports Hockey

Just call Della Rovere captain Colt 0

IAN SHANTZ

Stefan Della Rovere had to know it was coming.

After all, the 18-year-old Barrie Colts forward billets with John and Kathleen MacDonell. In recent years, the Mac- Donells have welcomed former Colts Jeremy Swanson, Eric Reitz and Tomas Marcinko into their home.

They were all Colts' captains.

Yesterday, Della Rovere was named the OHL team's captain for 2008-09.

"It's a bit of a lucky household, I guess," said Della Rove re, b e fo re heading off for his studies at Georgian College last night.

Overage forward Cory McGillis, forward Alex Hutchings and overage defenceman Kyle van de Bospoort were named alternate captains.

It's been quite a week for Della Rovere, a Washington Capitals draft pick who returned from his first NHL tryout in D. C. Tuesday night, then showed up at the Barrie Molson Centre yesterday and learned he'd be have some extra stitching on his jersey this campaign.

"It's been a fun week with many surprises," the native of Maple said. "It's a great honour, for sure."

Della Rovere, who said he'd "heard a few rumours going around" suggesting he'd be named captain, figures he's up to the leadership task. The former Toronto Jr. Canadiens captain is admittedly a bit of an "army sargeant" when it comes to how he likes things to be conducted, on and off the ice. But he said he plans to have an open ear to everyone on the team.

"I like to voice my opinion about things, and I like things in straight order," the gritty winger said.

"But a lot of us are the same age on this team (1990 birth years), so I also like to leave the guys alone, for the most part. If something needs to be said, I'll say it."

Entering his third season with the club, Della Rovere also understands the importance of keeping the team's younger players involved, on and off the ice.

He had former captain Bryan Little helping ease his transition into major junior a few years back.

"Those guys helped me out early in my career, so you want to help the younger guys out now, because you know what it's like coming into the league," he said.

With Della Rovere set to wear the 'C' when the Colts travel to Sudbury tomorrow, it marks a return to a full-time, complete-season captain for the Colts, who named Tomas Marcinko team captain late in last year's campaign, opting to give the letter to players on an alternating basis for much of last season.

"I just think it's more settling. It's a much better situation," said Colts head coach Marty Williamson, who didn't want to name a captain during last year's rebuilding year for fear of losing that leader later on to a trade, depending on how the season shook out.

Choosing Della Rovere as the team's official leader was a no-brainer, the coach added.

"I'm very confident with Delly. I think he's matured into a great young man," Williamson said. "He's a guy that guys look up to and will listen to. And he's got a great ability to include everybody in every thing."

Della Rovere, who called yesterday a "great achievement," plans to represent his team with pride.

"We're always told, 'you're a Barrie Colt on the ice and off the ice," he said. "I don't take it lightly."

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