Dillon Heatherington Named Stars CaptainOct 2, 2019
CEDAR PARK, Texas – The Texas Stars, American Hockey League affiliate of the NHL’s Dallas Stars, announced today that defenseman Dillon Heatherington has been named the seventh captain in team history. He is joined by the club’s new alternate captains, defenseman Joel Hanley and forward Michael Mersch.
Heatherington, 24, enters his fourth season with the Texas Stars after posting career bests in 2018-19 with 24 points (2-22=24) in 73 games on the blue line. The 6-foot-4 defender played five games with the Dallas Stars last year and also made his Stanley Cup Playoff debut against St. Louis on May 3, 2019. He ranks sixth in Texas Stars history among defensemen with 150 games played. The Calgary, Alberta native has skated in more than 260 games since turning pro in 2015 from the WHL’s Swift Current Broncos. During his career, Heatherington has captured a 2016 Calder Cup Championship, appeared in two Calder Cup Finals, and won two gold medals with Team Canada in the 2015 World Junior Championship and 2013 Under-18 World Junior Championship.
“We are really excited to announce Dillon as our captain this year. He commands huge respect in the dressing room and is a big leader for us with his play on the ice. Since we traded for him from Columbus he has been a consummate pro and we are really happy to have him lead our team and help some of our young players moving forward,” said Texas Stars Head Coach Derek Laxdal.
Heatherington joins a list of team captains that includes Justin Dowling (2018-19), Curtis McKenzie (2017-18), Travis Morin (2015-17), Maxime Fortunus (2012-15), Brad Lukowich (2010-11), and Landon Wilson (2009-10).
Joining Heatherington are Joel Hanley and Michael Mersch as the team’s alternate captains. Hanley, 28, begins his second season with the Stars after logging 28 points (8-20=28) in 60 games with the club last year, leading the blue line with eight goals. The defenseman also played 16 NHL games with Dallas and made his Stanley Cup Playoff debut against St. Louis on May 1, 2019. The veteran from Keswick, Ontario has played more than 350 games in his pro career since completing his collegiate career at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst.
Mersch, 27, has played in more than 300 professional games, including 17 at the NHL level, and enters his sixth full season in professional hockey. Last year, he ranked second on the Stars with 23 goals and collected 45 points (23-22=45) in 68 games. The Park Ridge, Illinois native won the 2015 Calder Cup with the Manchester Monarchs after turning pro from the University of Wisconsin.
“We have a great leadership group this year that includes seven guys on our team. In addition to our captains, we also have experienced players like Tanner Kero, Reece Scarlett, Gavin Bayreuther, and Landon Bow to help lead our team,” said Coach Laxdal. “It is a great group and part of the message is that you don’t need a letter to be a leader. We believe that Dillon has earned the captaincy and his leadership is going to be a great fit for our team.”
Texas opens the regular season at home on Friday, Oct. 4 against the Tucson Roadrunners at 7 p.m. to begin Opening Weekend at H-E-B Center at Cedar Park. They return the following night to face the Manitoba Moose on Saturday, Oct. 5 at 7 p.m.
The Texas Stars are the primary development affiliate of the NHL’s Dallas Stars. Full-season, 24-game and 12-game ticket packages for the 2019-20 campaign are on sale now. For more information, call (512) GO-STARS (467-8277) or visit TexasStars.com.