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Canadiens prospect Alex Galchenyuk named Sarnia Sting captain

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The character the Montreal Canadiens saw in top pick Alex Galchenyuk has been recognized by his junior team.

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Sarnia Sting head coach and general manager Jacques Beaulieu announced Thursday that Galchenyuk has been named captain for the 2012-13 season.

“This is a huge honour to be named captain of the Sarnia Sting,” the 18-year-old told the team’s official website. “I feel like I will be the type of captain who leads by example and try to push my teammates to work as hard as they possibly can every day.”

Charlie Sarault, Craig Hottot, Connor Murphy and Reid Boucher will serve as his alternates.

The captaincy is a first for at any level for Galchenyuk, whom the Canadiens selected third overall at the 2012 NHL Draft in Pittsburgh.

“In Alex specifically you have a player who is a world-class talent yet works as hard as or harder than anyone both on and off the ice. He is an excellent example for all of players to look up to,” said Beaulieu, father of Nathan Beaulieu, the Canadiens’ first pick (17th overall) in 2011.

After a standout rookie Ontario Hockey League campaign in which he scored 31 goals and 83 points in 68 games, Galchenyuk missed all but eight games (two regular season, six playoff) in 2011-12 with a torn ACL suffered in training camp.

Canadiens’ director of amateur scouting Trevor Timmins and his staff followed up on the centre’s rehab throughout the season. Already sold on Galchenyuk’s high-end skill, Timmins and Canadiens GM Marc Bergevin were left thoroughly impressed with his character at the NHL Combine in May.

“When he came to see us, it reinforced the feeling I had about him. When he left, I looked at Trevor and we knew,” Bergevin said at the draft.

Galchenyuk’s debut as Sting captain comes on Sept. 21, when Sarnia hosts the Belleville Bulls in the season opener for both clubs. It’s a day that was scheduled to be the opening of Canadiens training camp, where the Milwaukee, Wis., native would have been if the NHL wasn’t in lockout mode.

Instead he will concentrate on his OHL team, which suits him just fine.

“There’s still a lot of things I have to prove here in Sarnia and give fans what they want to see, and that’s what I’ll try to do,” he told the Sarnia Observer.

And when it comes to leading, Galchenyuk, who admits he’s not the most vocal guy in the room, plans on doing what he does best – being himself.

“We have a great coaching staff that can talk in the locker room. Charlie (Sarault) and (Craig) Hottot can talk. I’m just going to compete and lead on the ice,” he said.

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