Captain Carson

CAMERON MAXWELL, CALGARY SUN

, Last Updated: 10:30 AM ET

Calgary Hitmen fans, meet the new Brett Carson.

That would be the more mature, focused Carson, who has the respect of his teammates as they named him captain for the 2005-06 season.

Carson has been known to be a little goofy, a little carefree over the years but coming into his 20-year-old campaign, the big blueliner said he has been inspired by some former Hitmen vets.

"Every year you learn some new stuff and over the years we've had some great leaders in Patrick Wellar and Ryan Getzlaf, our previous captains, and they helped me out a lot," said Carson, who turns 20 next month.

"I'm going to take what they taught me and use it this year."

The 6-ft. 5-in., 215-pounder from Whitewood, Sask., also promises he'll be diplomatic with the referees this season, something Getzlaf had problems with last campaign.

"I'm a pretty easy going guy, so I don't think I'll have much trouble there," said Carson, who leads the Hitmen into Medicine Hat tonight for a contest against the Tigers (6 p.m., FAN960). "I'm not going to swear at them or yell at them. It's not going to change anything, so I'll just get their respect."

In fact, Getzlaf had the 'C' temporarily stripped off his jersey after getting a little too lippy with the zebras, who weren't afraid to banish him to the sin bin when he got offensive.

"But sometimes there are things that have to be said to the refs and I'm going to be the guy that says them but hopefully I don't get into any trouble for it and maybe we can get a few calls here and there," said Carson, a fourth round selection of the Carolina Hurricanes in the 2004 NHL Entry draft.

The Hitmen coaches let the players decide the captaincy as well as the assistants and, while he hoped his teammates would choose him, Carson admits he was still a bit surprised to get the 'C'.

"We have a lot of good leaders on this team, so it came as a surprise but I was hoping to get it. I thought I was showing a lot of leadership and now that I've got the 'C', I've got to make use of it," said Carson, who has two assists in the Hitmen's first three games, all of which were wins.

The assistant captains are forward Brodie Dupont and defencemen Jeff Schultz and Dustin Kohn. Being the club's leader should boost Carson in his final season of junior hockey and a good campaign will go a long way in helping him sign a deal with the Hurricanes. If he doesn't sign by June 1 next year, he'll go back into the draft.

"I had a really good rookie camp and I was supposed to go the main but I had a little bit of an injury," Carson said. "But they phoned me and said I'm still part of the future, so hopefully I can have a good year and things will work out for me."

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HIT PARADE: When the Hitmen take on the Medicine Hat Tigers tonight, they'll be without a couple of 20-year-olds. F Darryl Moscaluk (concussion) and D Darryl Yacboski (shoulder) will both be out of action, while F Isaac Reid (groin) also won't suit up. Yacboski re-injured his surgically-repaired left shoulder in Game 2 of the season against Red Deer ... The Tigers are 1-0-0-1 this season and had the Hitmen's number in 2004-05, winning five of six games.


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