The Tri-City Americans will open their 30th season in Kennewick with a commemorative logo and Michael Rasmussen as their captain.
The Americans unveiled their 30th anniversary logo and introduced Rasmussen at a ceremony Thursday night at Toyota Center.
“I really like the logo,” Tri-City general manager Bob Tory said. “It has the screaming eagle, the Americans name on the bottom and the stars. The 30 is predominant, which is very, very important. You don’t get to honor that longevity very often. We will have it at center ice and adorn it on other items as well.”
Tory has seen the good and the bad over the past 17 years, but is excited as the franchise moves forward.
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“There were a lot of ups and downs with this organization over the years,” Tory said. “Like the team might be leaving. I think our ownership group stabilized that. It’s a tremendous community and we take a lot of pride being here. I’m excited for the upcoming year. I thought we had a really good season last year. We had a disappointing March, and certainly in the playoffs, but we took some real good steps forward. I think we have a chance to have a dynamic hockey club next season. I’m excited about next season, as excited as I have been in a long, long time.”
Rasmussen, a native of Surrey, British Columbia, has played two seasons with the Americans, and is slated to be a first-round pick in June’s NHL draft.
“It’s just a huge honor to be named captain of such an amazing organization,” Rasmussen said. “I can’t thank my family enough for all they have done for me. This is very special.”
A 6-foot-5, 200-pound forward, Rasmussen had 32 goals and 23 assists in 50 game this past season before knee and wrist injuries derailed his campaign. He missed the final 18 games of the regular season, and the playoffs.
“The wrist is coming along,” he said. “The cast should come off in the next couple of weeks. I’m excited for that.”
Tory said Rasmussen was the right person to lead the Americans.
“I thought it was important to establish leadership early, like we have traditionally in the past,” Tory said. “We kind of got away from that, but I thought was important to establish that early in the summer and get it out of the way. I couldn’t have thought of a better player and person than Michael for that position. Not only is he a very competitive athlete who wants to win each and every game, but he is a humble and passionate professional who is very level-headed and cares about people.
“That is something I have tried to impress upon our players since I got here — there is much, much more than hockey and you have to carry yourself like a gentleman. This is a great day for our organization and for Michael.”