The Wheeling Nailers have named veteran defenseman Danny Fick and forward Nick Saracino co-captains, it was announced before Saturday's season opener in Norfolk, Va. Fick will wear the "C" at home, and Saracino will wear the "C" on the road.
Fick, 27, is entering his fourth season with the Nailers, making him the longest-tenured player on the roster. He was one of the Nailers' alternate captains in 2017-18.
Fick is the only remaining player on the roster from the Nailers' 2016 run to the Kelly Cup Finals. When I spoke to Fick last season, he said that he draws from the 2016 run when giving advice to the young players on the Nailers' roster.
“That year, we barely sneaked in and ended up making a really good run," he told me. "I kind of use that experience. I tell the younger guys that you got to take it one game at a time, and every game is going to be a battle.”
Fick has registered 10 goals, 35 assists, and 168 penalty minutes in 192 games in a Nailers uniform. He set career highs in 2017-18 with four goals and 19 assists in 70 games. Fick is 40 games from becoming the team’s all-time leader in games played.
"Captain Fick" is a promotion from Fick's previous nickname, "Officer Fick". I spoke with Fick about his nickname last season:
His nickname on the team and among Nailers fans is “Officer Fick,” mostly because he drives around an old police car, which also led to him dressing as a policeman for Halloween in the past.
“Partly that,” he said of the story behind his nickname, “Partly because I’m an older guy with a more stern presence, I suppose.”
I asked how exactly the police car came about or why he chose that, and I got a very Fick-like answer.
“Just a good deal.”
Saracino is entering his first season in Wheeling. The 26-year-old forward comes to the Nailers from the Worcester Railers, where he amassed 12 goals and 25 assists in 61 games. He spent the 2016-17 season with the AHL's Iowa Wild, where he scored two goals and four assists in 33 games.
This isn't the first time Saracino has had the extra letter on his sweater. Saracino was an alternate captain his senior year at Providence College, and he was an alternate captain with the Cedar Rapids RoughRiders of the USHL in his final junior season.