This year’s Captain-C’s
by Andrew Podnieks|13 MAY 2023
Marko Anttila is back, wearing the "C" once again for the Finns.
photo: Andrea Cardin / IIHF
A new World Championship always welcomes many players back to IIHF competition and also brings in fresh faces, and 2023 is no exception. Each year also sees some old and new names wearing the captain’s “C” on their sweater, so let’s have a quick look at who will be leading their team in Riga and Tampere.

Austria/Thomas Raffl—The 36-year-old Raffl has been captain since 2015, excepting 2016 and 2018 when he didn’t play. This is Raffl’s fourth year as World Championship captain, and he also wore the “C” in 2017 when the team played in Division I-A.

Canada/Tyler Toffoli—Toffoli was on Canada’s 2015 team that won gold, captained by Sidney Crosby, and Toffoli now is the leader of a team more than any other in recent memory that lacks international experience at the senior level. The Calgary Flames forward played all 82 games in the NHL’s regular season, scoring 34 goals. In 2015, he had two goals in ten games.

Czechia/Roman Cervenka—Playing in his tenth World Championships (to go with four Olympics), the 37-year-old Cervenka also captained the team in 2018 and 2022 (bronze), and the 2022 Olympics. 

Denmark/Jesper Jensen—Jensen wore the “C” in 2021 and is playing in his 12th consecutive WM. The defender has 64 games to his World Championship credit.

Finland/Marko Anttila—The big man has been a huge presence during the dynastic success of Suomi the last few years, captaining the team to gold in 2019 and silver in 2021. He will turn 38 on semi-finals day later this month (May 27) and is playing in his sixth WM all time. 

France/Sasha Treille—It has taken a while, but Treille is finally wearing the “C” for the first time for the French. Well, not exactly. Last year he wore the “C” twice at the Worlds, for games against Switzerland and Canada, when the nominated captain Damien Fleury did not play. This is Treille's 13th WM dating back to his debut in 2008.

Germany/Moritz Muller—Playing in his 9th straight WM, and 10th overall, Muller has been German captain since 2019. The 36-year-old made his international debut back in 2005 at the World Juniors.

Hungary/Gergo Nagy—Another veteran donning the “C”, the 33-year-old was also the leader last year in Division I-A. This will be his third WM at the top level in a stellar international career.

Kazakhstan/Roman Starchenko—The 37-year-old (as of yesterday) is playing in his 8th top level Worlds, and is captain for the fourth time (2016, 2021, 2022). He also wore the “C” at the WM20 in 2006 when the Kazakhs were in Division I-B.

Latvia/Kaspars Daugavins—He was 17 in 2006, a fresh-faced kid in awe of the tournament. Now he is Latvia's captain for the fifth time, having also assumed leadership duties in 2015, 2016, 2017, and 2021.

Norway/Ken Andre Olimb—Taking over the captaincy from his brother, Mathis, Ken Andre is another veteran of the World Championship. This will be the 12th WM for the 34-year-old but the first time he is wearing the “C”. Mathis wore the letter at last year’s Worlds. 

Slovakia/Marek Hrivik—He wore the “C” in Beijing last February and is playing only his third WM despite being 31. Nevertheless, that Olympics team won bronze in China and hopes to do more of the same here.

Slovenia/Jan Urbas—Urbas has been captain twice previously, in 2016 and 2018, but those were tournaments at which the Slovenes played in Division I-A. The 34-year-old has played in two Olympics (2014, 2018) and three previous top-level WMs.

Sweden/Jakob Silfverberg—Silfverberg is a familiar name to hockey lovers, but he hasn’t played an international event since the 2016 World Cup of Hockey. Before that was the 2014 Olympics. This is his third Worlds (2011, 2012), and he also played at the U18 and U20 level as well. He is wearing the “C” for the first time with Tre Kronor.

Switzerland/Nino Niederreiter—"El Nino" is at the Worlds for the seventh time, and first since 2019. He has 25 points in 37 career games and is wearing the “C” at the senior level for the first time. He was last captain at the 2011 World Junior Championship in Buffalo.

United States/Nick Bonino—At 34, he is by far the senior player on a young USA team, and in Bonino’s case he has World Championship experience from 2015 and 2018, two random years from the past that have one thing in common—the Americans won bronze both years. He never played at the two junior IIHF events and is making his debut with the “C” on his sweater.