Junior Hockey’s Dec. 1 deadline for carded players came and went with little activity, but the Trail Smoke Eaters did make one move on Monday acquiring former Vernon Viper forward Blaine Caton.
The 18-year-old Vernon native played eight games with the North Okanagan Knights of the Kootenay International Hockey League to start the season, then moved on to the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League’s Humboldt Broncos where he played just four games due to injury and registered an assist.
“He’s an all around solid, good two-way centerman,” said Smoke Eater coach Nick Deschenes. “He played a limited role last season with Vernon as a 17-year-old … and we’ve been looking for that 13th forward here for a little while, and I think he’s going to be a good fit.”
Caton played in 48 games with the Vipers last season, tallying four goals and eight points. He played in 44 games as a 16-year-old forward with the Knights in 2013-14 collecting 24 points in his first year of junior.
“He’s a ‘97 so there’s still lots of room for him to develop and grow his game,” added Deschenes.
BCHL teams are allowed to carry 35 cards to start the season, but the number must be reduced to 30 on Oct. 1, with the Dec. 1 deadline requiring teams to pare down to 25. The Smoke Eaters are set now with Caton filling out their 22-man roster.
“Unless it’s a major upgrade for us, I don’t think we’ll be moving any players for the sake of moving them.”
The Smoke Eaters played the West Kelowna Warriors Tuesday night but scores were unavailable at press time. They face off against Alberni Valley on Friday and Wenatchee Wild on Saturday at 7:30 at the Cominco Arena.