Nijhoff becomes the 80th captain in franchise history.
“My family and I have always been extremely honoured and grateful to be part of the Pats organization. It’s always been special and a great privilege to pull on the Pats sweater,” Nijhoff said in a video posted by the Pats to Twitter on Monday.
“Now, it will be my honour to wear the ‘C’ for junior hockey’s oldest franchise. The team and I can’t wait to hit the ice on March 12. And although it won’t be the same without you guys (fans) in the stands, we know you’ll be cheering us along.”
The 19-year-old, Comox Valley, B.C., native played in 61 games in the 2019-20 season as an assistant captain and recorded 16 goals and 18 assists for 34 points.
Nijhoff takes over the role of former Pat Austin Pratt, who is now attending the University of Regina.
“He’s very mature and we knew that when he came in years ago. He’s been with us the longest,” said Dave Struch, Pats head coach.
“His family values, his team values, the way he carries himself, those are all great reasons for him to be captain. Everybody looks up to him, young guys and old guys, and that’s a big part of being a leader in any aspect of life, so it’s very well-deserved.”
Defencemen Kyler Walker and Ryker Evans will serve as full-time assistant captains while forward Carson Denomie will wear an ‘A’ this season for home games and forward Drew Englot will wear an ‘A’ for away games.
“They’re an extension of the Regina Pats organization as people. I think that any time you make a decision like this, your leaders – the ones who wear the letters – have to be quality people off the ice before they can act on the ice,” Struch said.
“These guys are true leaders in every sense of the word and their play on the ice – with their work ethic, their commitment to the organization – is the reason we’ve chosen them. The fact that others in the room are becoming leaders is because of them and that’s really what you want to have happen.”
The Pats begin their season against the Prince Albert Raiders on March 12. All WHL East Division games will be played at the Brandt Centre in Regina.