The man who wears the ‘C’ for the Devils seems like a natural.

Bryce Salvador plays the tough minutes on the ice and gives the tough speeches in the dressing room when the situation calls for it. Six weeks into his captaincy, it is clear that he was the right choice to succeed Zach Parise in that role.

“He’s unbelievable,” right winger David Clarkson said. “I was roommates with Sal when I was young and he took care of me. He deserves that ‘C’ more than anybody. He’s a leader, somebody who I have more respect for than I can say.

“He plays hard every night. He’s the type of guy that leads by the way he plays. He battles and he’s very vocal in that room. He’s been fantastic for this team.”

So it might be surprising to know that Salvador, who grew up less than two hours from here in the small city of Brandon (population 37,000 in the late 1980s), never thought he had a chance to play in the NHL.

“From Brandon the NHL was just a pipe dream, especially for me,” Salvador recalled. “We had no hockey in our background. Growing up I didn’t really make any traveling teams. I played house hockey until I was nine and (junior league club) Lethbridge saw me by fluke.

“The (Lethbridge) Hurricanes happened to see me when I was 15 and said to my dad, ‘We’re going to protect your son and put him on the list.’ My dad said, ‘What does that mean? Is it going to cost me something?’ He had no idea. Now there is a bigger emphasis on grooming your kid to be in the NHL. With the internet, there is so much more information. You go to a parent in Canada now that has a seven year-old, he’s going to know what junior hockey is. My era might be the last.”

Eugene Salvador is of African and Brazilian descent, having moved to Manitoba for schooling. He encouraged his son to play hockey and volleyball and to run track, but he knew more about soccer.