The Walleye's Alden Hirschfeld has been named the team's captain after the early-season promotion of previous captain Jared Nightengale. BLADE PHOTO
Sylvania native Alden Hirschfeld has been named captain of his hometown Toledo Walleye.
The Northview High School graduate, who has persevered through a major medical scare, was given the title on Wednesday.
Hirschfeld, a veteran forward, replaces defenseman Jared Nightingale, who has signed a standard player contract with the Chicago Wolves of the American Hockey League.
Hirschfeld, who is in his fourth season with the Walleye, has averaged nearly a point per game and is tied for fifth on the team in scoring.
“Obviously it’s great,” Hirschfeld said. “I love this team, this town, and the fans we have. I’m thankful for all the support and trust from my teammates and staff.”
Hirschfeld, 29, has fully recovered after undergoing brain surgery last March to repair a condition that led to seizures. Just five months after the operation, Hirschfeld was back skating. After re-signing with his hometown pro team, he was named an assistant captain.
He has skated in 41 games this season for Toledo. The 6-foot-1, 206-pound center has 18 goals and 20 assists.
Walleye coach Dan Watson called Hirschfeld a true leader on and off the ice.
“Wearing the ‘C’ is the natural progression of his leadership role and his overall commitment to the team,” Watson said.
Hirschfeld ranks third in Walleye history in games played (176), fourth in points (137), and fourth in assists (85).
Hirschfeld helped lead the Walleye to the best start to a season in Toledo ECHL history. The Walleye (33-12-4) lead the ECHL in goals scored per game (4.15). Toledo is in first place in the Central Division and Western Conference.
Hirschfeld also was team captain at Miami (Ohio) University as a senior in 2011-12. At Northview, Hirschfeld helped lead the Wildcats to the state title game in 2006. He was named Mr. Hockey Ohio as the best player in Ohio high school hockey.
Hirschfeld said the new title will not significantly alter his role with the Walleye.
“It doesn’t change much,” he said. “I’ve always tried to be a leader and this team is full of leaders. So we will continue to work together as a team and I will continue to do my best to help the group as much as I can. I will just lead by example, work hard, and — for the younger players — help them understand and develop as a pro player.”
Nightingale had served as the Walleye’s captain the last two seasons. The 34-year-old has played in 23 games with Toledo and eight with Chicago this season.
The Walleye play three games on the road this weekend. They play at Wichita on Friday and Saturday and at Missouri on Sunday.