One player leaves and another comes in as the Chilliwack Chiefs continue a season-long roster shuffle.
This time it’s an exchange of defencemen, with an interesting twist.
Time ran out Friday on the six game suspension of D-man Brendan O’Reilly, who was banished for leaving the bench to join a fight during a Nov. 1 game vs Vernon.
But the big blueliner wasn’t in the lineup for home games vs Nanaimo and Cowichan Valley last weekend.
That’s because O’Reilly has gone east.Waaaaaay east. About as far east as he could go without falling into the Atlantic Ocean.
O’Reilly has joined the Saint John Sea Dogs, a Quebec Major Junior Hockey League team based in Saint John, New Brunswick.
The Dogs are currently the third worst team in the QMJHL with a 5-13-4-2 record.
“We can look at it and say it doesn’t make sense, but it’s his decision and it’s what he wants to do,” said Chiefs head coach/general manager Jason Tatarnic.
Needing to replace O’Reilly, Coach T found a talented defenceman who last played in, wait for it, Saint John, New Brunswick.
With O’Reilly coming in, the Sea Dogs released blueliner Marcus Tesink. The 19 year old was claimed on waivers by another major junior team, but chose the Chiefs instead.
“I was surprised that Marcus was the one they (Sea Dogs) let go, and it was fortunate for us because there is a family connection with me,” Tatarnic said. “I coached two of his older brothers, so Marcus and his family are familiar with me.”
In 141 QMJHL matches (regular season and playoffs) the D-man collected two goals, 17 points and 61 penalty minutes. At five-foot-10 and 177 pounds, the New Brunswick native isn’t big, but Tatarnic describes him as ‘a really good skater and a very smart player.’
“He played a lot of minutes for a very good team in Cape Breton last year, and he’s been a plus player everywhere he’s been until this year,” Tatarnic said. “Even with Saint John, a team that is really struggling, he was only a minus-four.
“We know exactly what we’re getting.”
Tatarnic is looking to make one more significant move in the coming days and wants to have his roster ‘finalized’ before Christmas.