PA’s Klassen named Portland Winterhawks captain

Photo Credit: Portland Winterhawks. Portland Winterhawks Captain Gabe Klassen (navy jersey) poses with the rest of the Winterhawks leadership group

The new captain of the WHL’s Portland Winterhawks has some Prince Albert roots.

Gabe Klassen of Prince Albert was named the 48th captain in the history of the Portland Winterhawks last week. The former Minto was drafted 19th overall in the 2018 WHL Prospects Draft.

Klassen says he had no idea he was going to be named the captain and that he takes pride in being chosen for the role.

“He [Head Coach Mike Johnston] told us we were having a special guest to come in and announce it. One of our long-time season ticket holders came in and announced the captains and that’s the first time I found out. It was a pretty special moment to find out I was going to be the captain and that I’ve earned the trust of my coaches and my teammates to wear the C for this organization. I’m really looking forward to the year now.”

Both Klassen and the Winterhawks are off to a great start so far this season. The Winterhawks sit second place in the WHL’s Western Conference with a 7-1-0-0 record and sit just two points behind the undefeated Seattle Thunderbirds.

In just four games this season, Klassen has potted eight goals for Portland. Last season in the Pacific Northwest, Klassen posted 33 goals and 64 points in 68 games for the Winterhawks.

Prince Albert is not a short leisurely away from Portland, Oregon.

Despite having to relocate to pursue his goal of playing in the WHL, Klassen says he was very fortunate to play his midget season at home with the Mintos

“It’s a great organization in PA. That midget league is a strong league and a lot of good players come out of there. It was nice to stay at home for my midget year, a lot of kids have to move away. I was lucky to stay home with a great organization. My coach when I was 15, Ken Morrison did a great job coaching there. We got a lot of players from that that ended up playing in the WHL and still are. Just the competitiveness we had on our team translated to the next level and helped guys move on.”

In 57 career games as a Prince Albert Minto, Klassen potted 42 goals and 31 assists.

One date that is circled on the calendar for Klassen, as well as his close family and friends is Jan. 10, 2023 when the Portland Winterhawks travel to Prince Albert to take on the Raiders at the Art Hauser Centre.

Klassen says it has been a long time coming but he is looking forward to being the villain in his hometown that night.

“It’s crazy that I’ve been in the league for four years and this is my first time coming back home. It’s going to be a super fun night. It will be a little bit weird being on the opposing end where all the fans aren’t rooting for me, but I’m sure we will have a good section rooting for the Winterhawks. It’s a fun rink to play in. It gets pretty loud and energetic.”