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Montreal Canadiens Max Pacioretty holds up a team banner for a photo session on the first day of training camp Thursday, September 17, 2015 in Brossard, Que.Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press

Max Pacioretty was helping to get his two kids ready for bed when a call came from Montreal Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin.

"Open your front door," said Bergevin, but when Pacioretty did, there was no one there.

"We had the wrong house," Bergevin said with a big laugh Friday about his gaffe while trying to inform Pacioretty he had been elected by his teammates as the 29th captain in Canadiens history.

"Once he saw which house it was, they pulled up and I knew right away," said Pacioretty. "It's something I'll always remember."

The Canadiens opted to have a single captain this season after going with four alternates in 2014-'15: Pacioretty, centre Tomas Plekanec and defencemen Andrei Markov and P.K. Subban.

Bergevin had said a captain would be named before the end of training camp and even the players were surprised that the vote was taken on the first night of camp Thursday.

There will be four alternates, but only two will wear the A on their jerseys at any time. The plan is for Plekanec and Subban to alternate every second game with Markov and gritty winger Brendan Gallagher.

Bergevin and coach Michel Therrien opted to have the players vote on the captain.

"Past history in Montreal shows most times the players choose," said Bergevin. "We felt we had good leadership and whatever the players decided, we'd support it. We have a number of good leaders on the team. The players have spoken."

Pacioretty, the team's top scorer, is the third U.S.-born captain of the Canadiens, joining Brian Gionta, who wore the 'C' from 2010-'14, and Chris Chelios, who was co-captain with Guy Carbonneau in 1989-'90. He's the first left-winger to be captain since Bob Gainey.

"To have the support of my teammates, I'd put it up there with the top feelings in my life," said Pacioretty, who choked up more than once at a news conference at the team's training base. "I've played with two captains here, Brian Gionta and Saku Koivu.

"I'll think back on how they handled situations and use that."

He opened by reading a prepared statement in French. He has been taking French lessons and hopes to master the language spoken by most of the team's fanbase within a few years.

"It's very important for me," he said. "This is my home now.

"Me and my family take it very seriously."

Pacioretty and Subban were considered the front-runners. Subban looked especially worthy for the honour when he made a $10-million donation to the Montreal Children's Hospital this week. But even he wasn't surprised it went to Pacioretty.

"What's there to be disappointed about?" said Subban. "I'm just happy to be part of this team."

Players were asked to write down their choice of captain and the votes were counted later. Bergevin did not release the results, but said Pacioretty won a majority and there was no need for a second ballot. Only players who were on the roster at the end of last season voted.

Players hailed Pacioretty's selection and were also glad to see 23-year-old Gallagher added to the leadership group. Gallagher was a captain in junior hockey with the Vancouver Giants.

"Just go on the ice and lead by example," Gallagher said of his new status. "For me, nothing needs to change. A little more responsibility, but other than that it's the same."

Pacioretty, recovering from a knee injury suffered in off-season training, skated on his own while most of the other 57 players in camp had their first scrimmages. He said he has extra motivation to be healed in time for the season opener Oct. 7 against Toronto.