List of current NHL captains and alternate captains
The National Hockey League (NHL) is a professional ice hockey league with of 30 teams, founded in 1917. Each team can select a captain, who has the "sole privilege of discussing with the Referee any questions relating to interpretation of rules which may arise during the progress of a game". Each team is also allowed to pick alternate captains, who work when the captain is not on the ice. Captains have to wear the letter "C" on their uniform to show who they are; alternate captains wear the letter "A". Both letters are 3 inches (7.6 cm) in height.
Some teams in the NHL do not have a captain, because they do not want one or from injury to the captain. Rule 6.2 of the 2008–09 Official NHL Rulebook says that "[only] when the Captain is not in uniform, the Coach shall have the right to designate three Alternate Captains. This must be done prior to the start of the game." The Toronto Maple Leafs and the Montreal Canadiens, theough they are the oldest franchises do not have any captains, instead they have three alternate captains. Many NHL teams with a captain select more than two alternate captains and change who wears the "A" for different games during the season.
Goaltenders are not allowed to be captains during games. This rule was made in 1948 after teams did not like that it took Montreal Canadiens goaltender Bill Durnan too long to skate to talk with the officials and back to his crease. However, Vancouver Canucks goaltender Roberto Luongo was the team's captain, but because of the NHL rule against goaltender captains, the league did not allow Luongo to act as captain on-ice. Because of this, the Canucks were allowed to have three alternate captains in games, instead of two that most teams have. Two (of the three) alternate captains took care of Luongo's on-ice work: Willie Mitchell (then alternate captain) talked to the officials. Luongo was not allowed to wear the "C" on his jersey, but it was part of the artwork on the front of his mask. Other than Durnan and Luongo, five other goaltenders have been captain o their team: John Ross Roach of the Toronto St. Patricks, George Hainsworth of the Montreal Canadiens, Roy Worters of the New York Americans, Alex Connell of the Ottawa Senators, and Charlie Gardiner of the Chicago Black Hawks.
Jonathan Toews, captain of the Chicago Blackhawks, is the third-youngest player to be named captain of a team in NHL history. Only Sidney Crosby of the Pittsburgh Penguins and Vincent Lecavalier of the Tampa Bay Lightning—both NHL captains right now—were younger than Toews when first named as captain. In 1984, Brian Bellows was named temporary captain of the Minnesota North Stars when Craig Hartsburg was hurt, and is the youngest player to captain a team in NHL history. However, because he was only the temporary captain, Sidney Crosby is the youngest permanent captain in NHL history.