As the AHL’s Toronto Marlies gear up for their home opener on Monday night in Toronto, the Marlies hockey club announced via press release that winger Rich Clune has been named as team captain.
For Clune, it’s his sixth season with the team and now becomes the ninth captain in franchise history. Joining the veteran as alternates are Tyler Gaudet and Kenny Agostino.
Clune, 33-years-old, made his Marlies debut in 2015-16. Since then, he’s tallied 45 points, adding on 20 goals along with 25 assists. As of Friday night, Clune has taken to the ice for 172 games.
Originally a native of Toronto, the lefty has appeared in 20 playoff games, recording five points on two goals and three assists. He also claimed a Calder Cup championship under Sheldon Keefe back in 2018.
This is not Clune’s first time in a role of leadership with the Toronto Marlies. In each of the last five seasons, he has graciously served as an alternate captain. Now sporting the “C” on his jersey, Clune becomes the team’s first captain since 2017/18, when they were led by Ben Smith.
Serving in this role before Smith, the Toronto Marlies have been led by seven others, including Andrew Campbell, Troy Bodie, Trevor Smith, Ryan Hamilton, Alex Foster, Ben Ondrus and Marc Moro.
Taking a deeper look into Clune’s career, the forward was drafted by the Dallas Stars in the draft’s third round back in 2005. He was selected 71st overall. Since then, Clune has managed to compile more than 600 games between the NHL and AHL.
Entering Monday night’s content against the Manitoba Moose at Coca-Cola Coliseum, Clune, also known as ‘Dicky’, has appeared in eight games, racking up two goals. Since his debut back in 2006, Clune has played 423 games at the AHL level and 139 in the NHL.
In a statement from Laurence Gilman, general manager of the Toronto Marlies, he said of the well deserved honour, “Rich has been an integral member of our leadership group for the past six seasons. From his first day with our organization, Rich’s strong character, positive mindset and unwavering leadership has made him an exceptional member of our team. His influence has touched each and every Marlies graduate and he continues to inspire our young players on and off the ice. We are excited to see Rich continue to develop, and along with our leadership group, provide invaluable support and guidance.”
Chiming in with a statement as well was former Marlies GM, now Leafs executive, Kyle Dubas. “Most deserving distinction for a person whose leadership contributions can be felt daily throughout the entire Leafs Organization. Very well earned & congratulations, Rich Clune … we are extremely fortunate to have you.”
Knowing what his new role consists of, he stated during his address to both coach Moore and his teammates, “Thank you to everybody who’s been apart of my career here and I don’t know what to say, boys, this is the best thing that’s ever happened to me. I love you all and let’s go out and win tonight. Rock and roll, baby.”
The Toronto Marlies drop the puck against the Moose at Coca-Cola Coliseum at 7:00pmET. The game will be available for viewing on Leafs Nation Network and AHLTV. Toronto and Manitoba alike both own a team record of 4-4-0.