The Chilliwack Chiefs are adding two new players to the lineup this weekend, both with major junior experience.
The BCHL club is bolstering the defence with 19 year old Kyle Yewchuk, a hulking six-foot-five Calgary native who last played for the Edmonton Oil Kings.
Yewchuk split the last two seasons with Edmonton and the Lethbridge Hurricanes, scoring one goal with 13 assists in 100 games.
“I always have my token ‘big guy’ on the back end. We’ve been missing that this year and I figured I’d better go and get it,” Chilliwack general manager/head coach Jason Tatarnic joked. “But Kyle is a player who knows what he is and what his strengths are.
“We’re not going to ask him to be something he’s not. He’s here to defend for us and do the job on the penalty kill.”
To make room on the blueline, Chilliwack has sent 19 year old D-man Nick Ormon to the Alberta Junior Hockey League’s Bonnyville Pontiacs in exchange for future considerations.
The second incoming player is a forward, 19 year old Winnipeg native Dawson Martin, whose rights were acquired from the Trail Smoke Eaters in return for the rights to 20 year old defenceman Brennan Riddle.
Martin spent most of last season with the WHL’s Red Deer Rebels, logging 65 games with 10 goals, six assists and 37 penalty minutes.
He previously played for Calgary, suiting up for 62 games with the Hitmen and posting two goals, eight assists and 41 PIMs.
“He’s a pretty skilled player who was used in a defensive role and he played for two really good coaches (Brent Sutter in Red Deer, Mark French in Calgary),’ Tatarnic said. “We believe he’s a player who can do things offensively and defensively and he will really add to our forward group.
“Dawson is excited to be here for the Royal Bank Cup year.”
Martin takes the roster spot of Jordan Roy, a physical force who’d quickly established himself as a favourite of Chiefs fans before he abruptly left the team last week.
“He just doesn’t like hockey anymore, the love of the game’s not there,” Tatarnic said. “There’s a time for everyone when they decide they’re done with the game, and that’s how he feels. I get it.”
Because he’s made so many moves in the first two months of the season, Tatarnic is now limited in what he can do for the rest of it.
The league imposes a transaction limit through player ‘cards,’ and the Chiefs are down to one or two.
“Right now we have room to do something else if we need to, but I like to set my roster early and our coaching staff believes in this group’s ability to get things done,” Tatarnic said. “It’s going to be a process now because really we only have three and a half months to get ready for playoffs and our journey.
“I think you’ll see us stand pat the way we are.”
Both players are expected in the lineup this weekend as Chilliwack visits Surrey (tonight) and hosts Coquitlam (tomorrow).