Powell River Kings recently traded a defender for a defender.
Ben Wozney is headed to Penticton Vees and the Kings will be receiving Olivier Lepine from Notre Dame Hounds.
Kings general manager Chad van Diemen said the transaction was a three-way trade involving the BC Hockey League’s Vees and Notre Dame of the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League.
“Lepine is from Quebec but he came out of Notre Dame in the Saskatchewan junior league,” said van Diemen.
Lepine is a 19-year-old defender. According to the Hounds’ website, he is five feet, nine inches tall, weighs 160 pounds and shoots right-handed. In 44 games played during the 2019/2020 regular season, he had six goals and 14 assists for 20 points. He also had 44 penalty minutes.
“He’s mobile and he’s a good puck mover,” said van Diemen. “We are pretty excited to get him. He’s going to be able to come and contribute.
“He knows some guys on our team. He played midget hockey with goalie Thomas Wardle and grew up with Dylan Finlay in Montreal, so there’s some history. Olivier’s a great kid, he’s excited and he’s looking forward to getting out here to start the season.”
Lepine played midget and a year of junior at Notre Dame.
“He’s obviously committed and wants to be a hockey player,” said van Diemen. “He’s away from home and that shows a lot of commitment at a young age. He is, by all accounts, a great teammate.”
It is not easy to move a player like Wozney, according to van Diemen.
“Ben was a good player for two years. A few things came up and we were in a situation where we needed to find a new home for him,” said van Diemen. “It took a bit of time to figure out the right deal but when this came about with Penticton and Notre Dame, we felt it was the right deal at the right time.”
When asked about a return to play, van Diemen said the BCHL had a return-to-play task force call last week. He said the league has a plan in place and a memo would be going out to the coaches this week, and that there would be a media release on July 15.
“We just want to get our ducks in a row before we make that official announcement,” said van Diemen. He said the league’s commissioner has requested that any information be embargoed until the official announcement by the league, so van Diemen could not disclose anything.
“We are making progress there and obviously everything is in the hands of the health authorities,” said van Diemen. “We are making plans and we’re excited about an announcement. Things are obviously going to be different this year but we are trying to make the most of it.
“We are definitely planning on moving forward when we are allowed to move forward. There’s a lot that goes into it with talks with the city and obviously with minor hockey, there’s a lot of discussion as well.”