For the Prince George Spruce Kings, their stance on this B.C. Hockey League season came into clear focus on Sunday.
Sellers on Sunday, the date of the BCHL trade deadline, the Spruce Kings are rebuilding for the 2010-11 campaign. Although playoffs aren’t out of the picture yet, it’s obvious the team is taking the opportunity to give players more experience for next season.
All traded away separately for future considerations, the Spruce Kings dealt 19-year-old defenceman Wes McLeod, 19-year-old goalie Steve Papciak, 20-year-old defenceman Josh Pineiro, 20-year-old forward Brooks Robinson and 20-year-old forward Marcus Watson.
McLeod was sent to the Spruce Grove Saints of the Alberta Junior Hockey League. A three-year veteran with the BCHL club, McLeod recorded 18 goals, 80 points and 158 penalty minutes in 153 games with the Spruce Kings. Selected to participate in the league’s all-star game two years in a row, McLeod is slated to play Division 1 hockey at the University of Alaska Anchorage in the fall.
Pineiro got dealt to the Surrey Eagles. In 70 games over two seasons with the Spruce Kings, he tallied nine goals, 26 assists and 72 penalty minutes.
Papciak returns to the AJHL in a deal sending him to the Canmore Eagles. A mid-season acquisition for the Spruce Kings, Papciak played in nine games, compiling a record of 4-2-1.
Robinson got traded to the AJHL’s Fort McMurray Oil Barons. An off-season acquisition for Prince George, Robinson was leading the Spruce Kings in scoring with 18 goals and 40 assists, good for 58 points. He was ranked among the top 10 league scorers.
Acquired mid-season from the Langley Chiefs, Watson joins the Grande Prairie Storm of the AJHL. In 11 games with the Spruce Kings, Watson had three goals and 11 assists.
The Spruce Kings resume their BCHL season on Friday in Quesnel, the first half of a home-and-home doubleheader with the Quesnel Millionaires. The teams wrap up the two-game set on Saturday in Prince George, which is also the final contest of the 10-game season series between the two squads. The winner of the series will get presented the CNC Cup. The teams have split their first eight games, with four wins a piece.
The Spruce Kings enter this weekend’s set with a record of 12 wins, 28 losses, a tie and three overtime defeats (12-28-1-3). Eighth place in the nine-team Interior Conference, they’re five points out of a playoff spot.