Smyle dealing as deadline day arrives?

The BCHL trade deadline day is today and the Chilliwack Chiefs are hoping for one or two moves to put them over the top.

Today is an anxious one for the Chilliwack Chiefs, with the trade deadline looming.

It is the last chance for Chiefs general manager Harvey Smyl to make a significant improvement to his roster heading into the playoffs.

Recent struggles aside, the Chiefs have established themselves among a small group of title contenders.

Backed by an MVP candidate in goaltender Mitch Gillam, Chilliwack would be a threat to beat anyone in a playoff series.

And this year, there is no super Penticton Vees team standing in the way.

With the landscape as it is, it would be suprising if Smyl did nothing at all.

“When we’re on our game, we’re right there with anyone else, and there’s a number of teams who think they’re right there as well,” he said. “So the players who are available are being courted, if that’s the right word, by a number of teams. There’s just more of them involved in the process.”

With the exception of the woefully bad Cowichan Valley Capitals (9-20-1-3), no team is truly out of the playoff picture just yet. Do the Vernon Vipers cough up an Adam Tambellini or Aaron Hadley if they’ve still got a shot?

This looks like a year in which supply may not match demand. When that happens, prices climb sharply.

Chilliwack’s needs seem clear.

With Josh Hansen and Ryan Donohoe injured, the top six has suffered.

Hansen will be back soon and Donohoe will return eventually (four to five weeks), but a forward with offensive chops would have to be at the top of Smyl’s shopping list.

“I we can strengthen that area, then sure we’d like to do that, but that’s not an easy thing to do,” he cautioned. “The top six has certainly been a concern, but when Josh and Ryan return, our depth gets a lot greater.”

The loss of Mitch Skapski to the Western Hockey League’s Everett Silvertips gave Smyl more to think about. The 16-year-old had locked down a regular spot.

His absence hasn’t created a gaping hole, but there is room for a bottom six forward as well.

“We’re looking for more grit, more size, and experience would be a very important part of it,” Smyl said. “The Skapski thing and the injuries, I’m not using them as an excuse, but it’s all taken away from a deep team concept where everyone knew their roles. Now we’re putting guys where they maybe haven’t played before, and there are some issues.”

If forwards are a weak spot, defence could be an area of strength.

The Chiefs are carrying eight capable blueliners, which may give Smyl depth to deal from.

“I guess we’ll deal from wherever we need to deal from to improve our hockey club,” he said, keeping his cards close.

While some GMs might secretly list the trade deadline as their favourite day of the year, Smyl doesn’t like it at all.

The thrill of the deal takes a back seat to human elements, and the knowledge that lives are being turned upside down.

“You’ve got to remember that these are kids that you recruit, work with all year and develop relationships with,” Smyl said. “Our goal when we recruit them is not to end up trading them. But at the same time, our goal is to try to win, and we owe it to our fans to try and ice the best product possible.”

There have been no early deals yet, but follow the ProgressSports Twitter feed to get the latest trades as they roll in.

Find the transaction wire online at

Just Posted

Doses prepared at pop-up vaccine clinic in Toronto’s Jane and Finch neighbourhood, in the M3N postal code, on Saturday, April 17, 2021. ( THE CANADIAN PRESS/Cole Burston)
4 vaccine clinics coming to Neighbourhood Learning Centre

Fraser Health made clinics ‘low-barrier’ meaning pre-registration not required

Deepak Sharma of Abbotsford has been convicted of the sexual assault of one of his cab passengers in West Vancouver in January 2019.
Former Abbotsford Hindu temple president convicted of sexual assault

Deepak Sharma assaulted a female passenger when he was a cab driver

A blood drive in support of 1-year-old Rielynn Gormley of Agassiz is scheduled for Monday, June 28 at Tzeachten First Nation Community Hall in Chilliwack. Rielynn lives with type 3 von Willebrand disease, which makes it difficult for her to stop bleeding. (Screenshot/Canadian Blood Services)
Upcoming blood drive in honour of Agassiz toddler with rare blood condition

The Gormley family has organized a blood drive in Chilliwack on June 28

Woody’s RV World hosts a grand opening for its brand-new Abbotsford location on Saturday. (YouTube)
Woody’s RV World hosts Abbotsford grand opening on Saturday

First-ever B.C. location for successful RV chain, located on Marshall Road

Gary Abbott performs a traditional hoop dance, National Aboriginal Peoples Day in Chilliwack, 2016. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Indigenous Peoples’ Day brings a virtual celebration of culture on June 21

Event to showcase Métis dancing, traditional Stólō songs, dancing, pow wows and storytelling

The border crossing into the United States is seen during the COVID-19 pandemic in Lacolle, Que. on February 12, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
VIDEO: Border quarantine to soon lift for fully vaccinated Canadians

Eligible travellers must still take multiple COVID-19 tests

Chief of Defence Staff Jonathan Vance sits in the front row during a news conference in Ottawa on June 26, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Defence committee rises without report on Vance allegations

Committee had been investigating the government’s handling of complaints against former defence chief

The Coquihalla Lakes washroom is getting upgrades. (Submitted)
Coquihalla to get upgrades to aging washrooms

The Ministry of Transportation is providing $1 million in funding to upgrade 3 rest areas

The Sacred Hearts church on PIB land burned Monday morning. (Theresa May Jack/Facebook)
Two churches on First Nation land in South Okanagan burn to the ground

Sacred Hearts church on Penticton Indian Band land was reduced to rubble

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Tl’etinqox-lead ceremony at the site of the former St. Joseph’s Mission in Williams Lake, B.C., June 18, 2021. (Angie Mindus photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
‘We are all one people’: Honouring residential school victims and survivors

Love, support and curiousity: Canadians urged to learn about residential schools and their impact

Indigenous rights and climate activists gathered outside Liberty Mutual’s office in Vancouver to pressure the insurance giant to stop covering Trans Mountain. (Photo by Andrew Larigakis)
Activists work to ensure Trans Mountain won’t get insurance

Global campaign urging insurance providers to stay away from Canadian pipeline project

In the first election with public money replacing corporate or union donations, B.C. Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson, B.C. Greens leader Sonia Furstenau and B.C. NDP leader John Horgan take part in election debate at the University of B.C., Oct. 13, 2020. (THE CANADIAN PRESS)
B.C. MLAs ponder 2022 ‘sunset’ of subsidy for political parties

NDP, B.C. Fed call for increase, B.C. Liberals have no comment

Most Read