Stamp veteran turns rookie captain

IAN BUSBY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 8:03 PM ET

Marc Calixte isn’t sure how he will feel heading out for the coin toss on Canada Day.

In 113 CFL games, the Calgary Stampeders linebacker hasn’t taken part in one.

But after getting voted one of the five team captains Tuesday, the Montreal native will shake hands with the Toronto Argonauts captains before the season-opener Thursday night at McMahon Stadium.

“It’s going to be weird,” said Calixte, who is a special-teams captain along with punter Burke Dales. “It will be my first time going to the centre of the field before the game. I feel honoured.

“I’m going to roll with it. Being a captain is no different than being a leader but you have a title to it. It won’t change anything for my approach to the game or the way I talk to the guys.”

Last season, kicker Sandro DeAngelis served as special-teams captain but he signed in Hamilton as a free-agent this off-season.

Dales is more than happy to take over the role, as he is entering his sixth season in Calgary.

“The biggest thing for this team right now is building chemistry,” Dales said. “That’s what every winning team in this league has and what we’re working on it.”

This season didn’t start out so well for Calixte, who was put on the disabled list to start training camp because of an arthritic knee.

It was a couple of weeks into camp before the 2003 draft pick was cleared to play.

Through seven seasons, the 31-year-old never grew into a starting role on defence but his contribution to the team on coverage units is never overlooked.

In fact, it’s his enthusiasm for the job that makes his teammates respect him so much.

“What Marc brings in my eyes is leading by example,” Dales said. “He doesn’t say much in the locker-room, but he’s one of the hardest working guys on this football team.

“It’s no surprise he’s been elected captain.”

ian.busby@sunmedia.ca


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