One-on-one with Colorado Avalanche captain, #92, Gabriel Landeskog | by
NHL’s youngest captain says both he and Avalanche team have grown
In September 2012, at age 19, Gabriel Landeskog was named captain of the Colorado Avalanche, making him the youngest captain in the history of the National Hockey League. We talked to Landeskog, now a veteran at 22, about how he’s settled into his role of captain and what makes this Avalanche team so special.
H&W: You broke “Sid the Kid” Crosby’s record for being the youngest captain in the NHL. How does that make you feel?
Landeskog: I always say I’m happy to be able to break one of his records and beat him in something. He’s one of the best players in the league. For me, being named captain at such a young age was a huge honor and came as a bit of a surprise. When I look back now, two years later, it might have been a little too early. But I’m still learning, and I’m still growing, and right now, I’m really coming into my own.
H&W: What was the biggest obstacle being the youngest NHL captain presented for you, and how did you overcome that?
Landeskog: That’s part of it. Just that title and people saying it. It’s a little overwhelming hearing that. I see myself as Gabe, and that’s it. For me, being such a young captain and earning the respect from my peers and teammates and opponents, that’s something that I take pride in and something that I’ve always been looking to do from day one when I got drafted to the NHL. The only way to do that is to be myself and do what I can to help the team win and treat everyone with respect.
H&W: As team captain, how do you motivate other team members to do their best?
Landeskog: For me, as a teammate in general, you have a responsibility to pick teammates up when they’re down whether you’re captain or not. The motivating part isn’t as big of a deal. Motivation is something that we’re all professionals at ̶ this is what we do, and we come to work every day. We’re in the gym, and we’re on the ice, working to get better. On the team, there are 23 individuals, and there are 23 different guys with different needs and different personalities. As captain, I think to learn how to deal with those 23 different personalities and be able to relate to all those guys is important.
H&W: Besides raw talent, what makes your team stand out as a physical force?
Landeskog: Last year, everyone just talked about how young and enthusiastic we were. Now, I think we have a better balance. We have young guys that are very enthusiastic, and we have older guys that have leadership and experience. To have that mix is very important, and the fact that we were in the playoffs last year and got snubbed in the first round was a bit of a wakeup call. It’s certainly going to motivate us even more, because we’ll remember that feeling going into this year, especially going into the playoffs.
H&W: Do you have any fear or anxiety on the ice, since things are sometimes rough out there?
Landeskog: I don’t. There’s absolutely no fear for me. I did get a concussion a couple of years ago when I was coming off the ice. I didn’t see the guy, and he came and hit me. You’re definitely more aware after that and certainly want to make sure you know what’s going on around you. As long as I’m confident out there and alert, I know that I’ll be OK. I think it’s more the opponents that should be scared (smiles).
H&W: For someone about to try ice skating for the first time, what’s your best advice?
Landeskog: Hold on to the boards (laughs)! It’s not easy, but as a hobby, going skating is great exercise. I see people skating with a chair in front of them so they can keep their balance. People try walking on the ice, but it’s more about bending your legs and just gliding and using the blades. Anyone who needs help can shoot me an email and we’ll talk about it (laughs).
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