For the first time in his BCHL coaching career, Chilliwack Chiefs general manager Harvey Smyl was the seller, peddling his wares at last week’s trade deadline.
Three deals saw Austin Plevy, Cooper Rush and Shay Laurent leave town with Mason Boh, Caleb Thompson and future considerations coming in.
League wide, there were 19 transactions last week involving 28 skaters.
“I think we’re all breathing a little easier this week now that that’s out of the way, but now we have to scramble to find some points,” Smyl said.
Smyl got his first up-close look at his new players during a weekend home-and-home versus Langley. Boh, an 18-year-old forward, donned jersey No. 16 and played sparingly in an energy role.
“He’s in a new league with a new team, and he’s still a young player,” Smyl said. “But he works hard, skates well and shoots well and he’s got a good mind for the game. He’ll get better and better.”
Thompson, a blueliner picked up from Prince George, wore David Bondra’s old No. 12 and played as advertised.
“Caleb’s pretty sound defensively and makes pretty good decisions with the puck,” Smyl assessed. “And he’s a solid, tough kid to play against.”
A third newcomer wasn’t acquired by trade.
Wearing David Thompson’s old No. 5, Coquitlam native Daniel DelBianco suited up on the revamped D. Plucked away from the junior B Port Moody Panthers, the 19 year old made his return to the BCHL.
Prior to this year, DelBianco logged 58 games between the Alberni Valley Bulldogs, Trail Smoke Eaters and Surrey Eagles.
“He was really doing well in Port Moody and hopefully he can be one of those guys who just gets better and better,” Smyl said. “He’s very gifted offensively and put up some big numbers in junior B (29-19-14-33).”
If you include Cody Bardock, Smyl’s defensive corps now includes four players who weren’t on the opening day roster. He needs them to mesh super quick.
“Unfortunately we don’t have the luxury of time to work guys in slowly,” Smyl said. “We need to force-feed some things and not just let things happen.”
On the ice, none of the newcomers made an appreciable difference against Langley. The Chiefs lost 5-0 Friday and 5-2 in the Saturday night rematch, slipping to 10-29-1-3 on the season.
“Langley’s a very good and deep team, an older group that’s pretty sound defensively,” Smyl said of a Rivermen squad that’s beaten his Chiefs in all but one of their meetings this year. “I thought we played pretty well at times but not well enough.”
Chilliwack’s now 12 points back of Surrey for the final Mainland division playoff spot, with the Eagles still holding one game in hand. The Chiefs have just 15 regular season games remaining. While four of those are against the Eagles, playoff odds have officially been downgraded to dismal.
The Chiefs are back at it this weekend with another home-and-home.
They’re in Coquitlam Friday and host the Express Saturday night at Prospera Centre.
Game time is 7 p.m.