With the Jan. 10 trade deadline falling on the BCHL and KIJHL Tuesday night, the Trail Smoke Eaters moved their top forward.
The Smoke Eaters were shopping around up until the last minute when they sent team-leading scorer and ’91 forward Clayton Chessa to the Vernon Vipers for future considerations.
“We received lots of phone calls but everyone wanted to give us a Volkswagon for a Rolls Royce,” said Smokie coach and G.M. Bill Birks.
The Vipers then sent Chessa to the Nanaimo Clippers in exchange for 20-year-old Clayton Cyr.
Chessa scored 13 goals and added 11 assists in 27 games for the Smoke Eaters this season. He was acquired in the deal that sent Travis St. Denis to Cowichan Valley in exchange for Chessa, Nick Wong and Chase Kaiser. None of the three players remain on the Smokies roster.
“We’re building for next year, this was a deal that made sense for the Trail Smoke Eaters and put Clayton in a spot where he has a chance to win; it’s a win-win for both sides,” added Birks.
In other BCHL deals, the rich got richer after the Victoria Grizzlies transferred the playing rights of Wade Murphy, a ’92 forward, to the Penticton Vees in exchange for the playing rights of Mark McLellan, ’94, and future considerations.
Murphy sits in fourth place in the BCHL scoring with 22 goals and 40 assists in 38 games this season. He was ranked 204th in the NHL’s mid-season scouting report. The addition means the Vees have six scorers in the top 10 and nine in the top 20 of league scoring.
The Canadian Hockey League’s (CHL) most recent poll ranked Penticton number one in the nation with Cowichan Valley breaking in to the top 20 at 17th spot.
Victoria was the busiest team on the day moving forwards Mike Moran, Jarryd Ten Vaanholt and Mike Collins, goaltender Jamie Tucker and defenceman Taylor Pernerowski, while rearguard Kevin Woodyatt was outright released.
With the moves — including the loss of Myron (17 goals and 25 assists) — the Grizzlies surrender five of their top six scorers in Murphy, Moran (18G, 28A), Ten Vaanholt (17G, 24A) and Pernerowski (7G, 14A).
Meanwhile the Nitehawks remained content with their roster, making no moves at the deadline, as they sit in first place in the KIJHL.
In a very quiet day of trading, only three deals were made over the final two days, one of which saw the Kimberley Dynamiters trade the playing rights of ’92 forward Garret Kucher who plays for the Selkirk College Saints to Osoyoos.
The Nitehawks play Kimberley Friday and Castlegar on Saturday at the Beaver Valley Arena at 7:30 p.m. The Smokies face off against Coquitlam Friday at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday against Chilliwack at 3 p.m.