The Beaver Valley Nitehawks made one last move before the Canadian Junior Hockey’s trade deadline on Friday.
The Nitehawks acquired defenceman Ryan McDonald from the Osoyoos Coyotes on Wednesday. The six-foot-one Nakusp native played 77 games for the Coyotes over two seasons, scoring 9 goals and adding 23 assists.
“We watched video, and he’s a 20-year-old kid with a decent level of experience in our league, a bigger, heavier guy, and we’ve had good success from guys from Nakusp,” said Nitehawks coach Terry Jones. “We know that they’re hard nose, hard working guys so we’re excited about him coming.”
A nagging injury to defenceman Luke Woodrow has hampered his play all year and is not improving so the Nitehawks staff had to make a decision.
“Everything that Luke has told us is up in the air, and he’s not making any progress with his injury, and so unfortunately we had a lot of concern with that, and felt that we needed to add some depth,” said Jones. “But it’s a big loss, because he’s a really, really good player.”
The Nitehawks went 6-2-1 in December, but in addition to Woodrow, forward Angus Amadio and Markus McEachern, and d-men Quaid Anderson and Jesse Ihas are missing ice time due to injuries.
“It’s been tough, but we have to get through this part and get everybody healthy.”
B.V. is coming off a split last weekend, shutting out the Spokane Braves 4-0 on Saturday after a 3-2 loss to Nelson Leafs Friday. The 21-7-2-3 Nitehawks hold a slim one-point lead on the Leafs, but have three games in hand, as they get set to take on the Castlegar Rebels tonight and the Creston Valley Thunder Cats on Saturday.
The recent addition of Nolan Corrado will bolster the Hawks offence, while the release of goalie Saran Virdee in favour of Hunter Young and Kevin Engman between the pipes was a sound hockey decision.
In any case, Jones feels the Nitehawks are ready to make another run at the Kootenay Conference title.
“Our team’s set and I think the approach we’re taking, in the last month we’ve made a few decisions that will improve our roster,” added Jones. “From a teaching and development perspective, we have to go back to square one, and get everyone on the same page, just what we expect and how we play. I really like the composition of our team, we have a really good group of kids and I think our best hockey is in front of us.”
B.V. hosts the Rebels tonight at the Hawks Nest at 7 p.m.