Kris Versteeg named captain of Blackhawks' AHL affiliate Rockford IceHogs


PRAGUE — The Rockford IceHogs announced their leadership group for the 2019-20 season, and two-time Stanley Cup champion Kris Versteeg has been named team captain. Coach Derek King also revealed that forwards Matthew Highmore, Jacob Nilsson and Tyler Sikura will serve as the alternates.

And in true Versteeg fashion, he couldn't help but use part of that moment to take a not-so-subtle jab at his former Chicago teammate.

"It's about time the state of Illinois got a real captain," a smiling Versteeg told reporters, poking fun at Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews. "No digs at anyone in particular. But it was a really special moment. It's been a long time since I've ever had a letter or worn anything. I don't expect to change who I am or anything like that but it was a moment that I'm going to remember in hockey for a long time."

Versteeg is entering his 14th season as a pro after taking a year off to play overseas, where he spent time in the KHL and SHL last season. The 33-year-old winger signed a one-year contract with the Blackhawks' AHL affiliate in April to help be a mentor to the organization's top prospects.

Versteeg isn't a stranger to Rockford, either. He was a member of the 2007-08 team, which was the first year of its AHL existence, and compiled 49 points (18 goals, 31 assists) in 56 games and added six goals and five assists in 12 postseason contests.

Versteeg is the 11th captain in IceHogs history and first since Jake Dowell in 2016-17.

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