The Trail Smoke Eaters made a deal for a veteran goaltender to shore up its last line of defence.
The Smoke Eaters acquired 20-year-old goalie Gabriel Waked from the Flin Flon Bombers of the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League in exchange for 18-year-old forward Bryce Anderson.
Waked played two seasons in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League with the Blainville-Boisbriand Armada, before being acquired by the Bombers at the Jan. 10 trade deadline last season. The six-foot-one, 194-pound St-Bruno-de-Montarville, QC native played in 14 games, earning a 3.36 goals against average and a .894 save percentage. However, he took his game to another level in the playoffs with a 2.51 GAA and .922 save percentage in nine games, earning the playoff MVP for the Bomber.
“Gabriel Waked is the last big addition for us this off-season,” said head coach and GM, Jeff Tambellini. “It was important to find a 20-year-old goalie who has experience and we believe Gabe is the right player to help win us hockey games this season. He comes from a great hockey family and the Trail Smoke Eaters are looking forward to helping him join his brother Antoine in pro hockey next season.”
Anderson, a Whitehorse product, played in 49 games for the Smoke Eaters last season scoring six goals and 14 points.
Trail also tracked down a new play-by-play announcer. Ben Phillips will take over as the team’s new broadcaster for the 2019-20 season.
“The Trail Smoke Eaters are excited to add Ben to our organization,” said Craig Clare, Director of Hockey and Business Operations. “He was selected from a talented group of finalists that included appealing national candidates and we know our fans are going to enjoy hearing him call our games at home and on the road.”
Phillips has spent the past two seasons as the play-by-play announcer and social media manager for the PJHL’s North Van Wolf Pack, earning the honour of Broadcaster of the Year for the 2018-19 season.
In addition to his time with the Wolf Pack, Phillips was also the voice of the North West Hawks of the BC Major Midget League last season, as well as providing colour commentary for the BCHL’s Langley Rivermen.
“I am very excited to head to Trail and and begin working for the Smoke Eaters organization,” said Phillips. “I’ve heard great things about the community and the fans of Trail and I can’t wait for the season to start.”
Phillips will take over for Trevor Miller who returned to the Penticton Vees organization earlier this summer. Miller started working in the BCHL doing colour commentary for the Vees from 2013 to 2016. In July he was voted by his peers as the 2018-19 BCHL Broadcaster of the Year for his work in the Trail booth.