Blake Wheeler has been stripped of his captaincy by the Jets, according to head coach Rick Bowness.

The Winnipeg Jets are changing their on-ice leadership group. The squad announced that veteran forward Blake Wheeler has been stripped of his captaincy and will not play in the 2022-23 season.

Wheeler has been the Jets’ captain since 2016, but the team’s failure to make the playoffs in 2021-22 caused some significant changes. Former Dallas Stars head coach Rick Bowness was hired to replace Paul Maurice as head coach.

With training camp approaching, Bowness took the decision to go without a captain, at least for the time being.

“It is the coaching staff’s conclusion that we will approach the 2022-23 season without a designated captain, but rather a group of assistants who have yet to be identified,” Bowness stated in a statement. “Our goal is to broaden our hockey team’s leadership base. We have high expectations for our core players and want to give them the chance to take on bigger leadership responsibilities as a group.”

Bowness elaborated on his choice during a press conference. The new Jets coach stated that he felt it was time for a change in leadership, but he was delighted with how close the locker room is.

Wheeler has been with the Jets since being acquired from the Atlanta Thrashers in 2011. Wheeler has 246 goals, 511 assists, and 757 points in 12 seasons with the Thrashers and Jets.