The BCHL trade deadline came and went Thursday and despite concerted efforts, the Trail Smoke Eaters could not wrangle a deal.
They tried but the Smokies couldn’t pull the trigger on a deal, with the BCHL’s biggest movers and shakers, the Vernon Vipers and Coquitlam Express, dealing their best to larger markets.
With the playoffs a long shot, Vipers’ head coach and GM Jason Williamson put his top talent on the trading block to restock for next season, when Vernon will host the RBC Cup national junior A tournament.
Leaving the den before Thursday night’s carding deadline were forwards Adam Tambellini to the Surrey Eagles, Aaron Hadley to the Nanaimo Clippers, and Pearce Eviston is now a Victoria Grizzly. All three transactions were for future considerations except the Tambellini deal, which will see 18-year-old forward Mason Blacklock join Vernon from the Eagles. Williamson also sent future considerations to Surrey as part of the trade.
The Smokies made a play for the Snakes’ coveted forwards, but the coaching staff decided that bankrupting their future wasn’t worth the cost of a rental player for a couple months.
“We were looking at Hadley, Tambellini, all those guys, (John) Siemer, (Philip) Zielonka, a couple guys out of Prince George,” said Smokies assistant coach Brent Heaven. “We were very active, and in the mix for a lot of these guys. It just didn’t pan out for us. The prices were extremely high, and we’re not a Surrey, Nanaimo, Chilliwack, a big market team that can afford to give up those futures.”
For Castlegar native Hadley and his cousin Tambellini, Thursday was a bittersweet experience.
Trail still has a card available, and can sign a player from another league before Feb. 10.
“Right now we’re happy with what we got . . . if we can make a move we’ll make it but it has to be the right guy, we’re not bringing a guy in just for the sake of having another body, it’s got to be a guy that’s going to fit in well with the room,” added Heaven.
A total of 15 deals were made around the league in the days leading up to the deadline, with playoff contenders seeking to boost their lineups.
The Coquitlam Express sent 19-year-old forward Mitch Nardi to the West Kelowna Warriors in exchange for future considerations; forward Philip Zielonka, 19, to the Chilliwack Chiefs for Garrett Forster, 17, Ben Israel,18, and future considerations; and John Siemer to the Penticton Vees for future considerations.