Alberni Valley Bulldogs forward Chase Klassen holds onto the puck, pursued by Grizzlies forward Ellis Rickwood. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)

Alberni Valley Bulldogs forward Chase Klassen holds onto the puck, pursued by Grizzlies forward Ellis Rickwood. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)

BCHL: Alberni Valley Bulldogs name Klassen team captain for 2022-23 season

Outgoing captain Stephen Castagna says thank you to fans

The Alberni Valley Bulldogs have announced that Chase Klassen will be the team captain for the 2022-23 season.

The 20-year old from Colwood, BC received the surprise news from head coach and general manager Joe Martin during the team’s Awards Gala at Rim Rock Casino on April 27. Klassen will be the 20th captain in Bulldogs history.

During the gala, Martin focused heavily on the job that outgoing captain Stephen Castagna and his fellow leadership group did during the 2021-22 season.

Martin said he expects Klassen and the next crop of leaders to carry the torch forward into another season of Bulldogs hockey. “Being a captain is not an easy job, but we know Chase is up for the challenge,” said Martin.

Klassen has appeared in 71 games as a Bulldog, registering 16 goals and 20 assists in that time and accumulating 91 penalty minutes. Klassen has also become a fan favourite of the Dawg Pound during his time in Port Alberni because of his physical style.

Bulldogs president David Michaud said he was thrilled with the coaching staff’s decision to name Klassen the captain.

“As Joe pointed out, we have a tremendous group of players coming back that could have been given this honour,” he said. “Our club won’t be lacking leadership next year. In Chase’s situation specifically, I think he’s a great choice to continue building on the foundation that was laid by Castagna and the other leaders this year. Knowing Chase, he will sprinkle in a touch of his character, and that is a good thing.”

Klassen will be replacing Castagna, who will be moving on to Bentley University next season. Castagna offered a thank you to Port Alberni and its fans at the end of the season.

“Four years ago I came to Port Alberni as a young 16-year-old, and now I’m leaving as a proud 20-year-old,” Castagna said. “I will always cherish the relationships I’ve made during my time in Port Alberni, and I want to thank everyone who has supported the organization throughout the years. I am now proud to call myself an alumni of such a great franchise.”

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