Landon Vollman will be wearing a C on the front of his sweater this year. An E would also be appropriate.
E as in expectations!
That’s a word being used a lot around the Alberta Junior Hockey League Storm this year and the 20-year-old Vollman, born in Grande Prairie and raised in Spirit River, is happy to lead the charge.
“I’m very honored and humbled to be chosen as the captain of the Storm for this season,” said Vollman, whose brother Tyler both played and acted as assistant coach with the team. “Having family ties to the Storm makes this a very personal event in my life and I am super excited about it.”
Joining Vollman with a letter on the chest this year are assistant captains brothers Cruz Cote and Walker Cote and Michael Clarke and Parker Smyth.
“I am appreciative of the support I’ve gotten from the boys,” said Vollman, who is into his third year with the team after playing Bantam AAA, Minor Midget and Midget AAA with the Grande Peace Athletic Club Storm teams. “It takes a lot of pressure off having the rest of the leadership core to help me out when I need it.”
In 84 games over two seasons with the Storm Vollman has played 84 games with four goals and six assists and 238 minutes in penalties.
A new captain for a new-look team was certainly in the cards.
“Right from the beginning of spring camp through the rest of the summer Landon took a lead role in our culture shift,” said Head Coach Matt Keillor. “We had the Cote brothers, Tyrell Boucher and Landon come in as team leaders during spring camp and they ran team building, off ice conditioning and coached the games.
“It was clear that Landon was already cultivating a new culture and we really liked the direction it was going.”
Keillor is confident Vollman will be a great captain.
“What I like about Landon is he’s honest and I trust him to carry the message when the coaches aren’t in the room. Our first discussion was that he was receiving the C because of the person he is, not the person he may feel pressure to be.
“We want him to be himself and lead the way that he knows how. Our expectations are much higher this year and with higher expectations our leadership has to have the right amount of grit and determination.”
Keillor said when he coached with Team Alberta they used a phrase “players that team.”
He says Vollman is a “player who teams.”
Vollman is impressed with the team Keillor, General Manager Mark Bomersback and assistant coach Dennis Rix have put together this year.
“We have a truly great group of young men in the room this year,” Vollman said. “I’ve gotten to know all these guys through camp and pre-season and I believe we have something special cooking up in the room.
“I have never seen guys become so close in such a short amount of time.”
Cruz Cote, 18, is into his third year with the Storm having played 106 games with 12 goals, 11 assists and 111 penalty minutes. Walker Cote, 19, is into his second full year with the team and played 52 games with two goals and nine helpers and 119 PIM last year.
Their presence on the team completed a Cote hattrick. Tyler Cote, their brother, played with the Storm over four seasons from 2009-2013. They are from Falher.
Clarke, a Medicine Hat native, was the team’s top point getter last year with 62 points on 31 goals and 31 assists. He joined the team in 2015 after starting that season with the Calgary Canucks. He is 19.
Smyth, nephew of former NHL’er Ryan, joined the Storm partway through last season playing in 29 games with 10 goals and 15 helpers and 61 PIM. He is 19 and is from Red Deer.
Will the Storm be improved this year? The captain is confident.
“Be ready for a surprise this year Grande Prairie because we have some hungry guys in the room who are ready to make a difference day in and day out for the Storm,” Vollman says. “Myself and the leadership core are excited to lead these guys and help them grow as players and people throughout the course of the season.”
They’ll get their first chance to show what they can do this weekend when they open the season at home with games against arch-rival Fort McMurray Oil Barons – the defending AJHL North Division champions.
Season opener is Saturday night at 7:30 p.m. in Revolution Arena. The also play Sunday in GP starting at 2 p.m.