Despite training camp being in full swing, the Delta Ice Hawks continue to fine-tune its roster in anticipation for the start of another Pacific Junior Hockey League season.
On Thursday, head coach and general manager Steve Robinson announced a pair of trades sending two veteran players to the North Vancouver Wolf Pack and Ridge Meadows Flames respectively for a package of players and cash.
High scoring forward Alex Suprynowicz was sent to the Wolf Pack in exchange for forward Nick Methorst, defenceman Bradley Seto, cash and the playing rights to Jonny Sheardown, while 2000-born forward Cam Judson was acquired from the Flames in exchange for d-man Nick Marsh.
Suprynowicz had been a stand-out for three years with the Hawks.
Robinson said he spoke extensively with Suprynowicz over the summer, who requested a trade to a team with some friends and familiar faces.
“It’s one of those things that you’re not happy with, but with his loyalty and the kind of kid he is and that he really has done everything we asked, I was satisfied that we could do this, even though I tried to talk him out of it,” said Robinson. “I wanted to do right by him and he wanted to go to one team and we wanted to make it the best fit for all involved.”
Robinson said Methorst and Seto will fit in well with their group.
“Overall considering the framework of the situation and only having one team to deal with, I think we got a fair return,” he said. “Nick actually started the season with us last year and I traded him to get Andrew Kemp back, so I hated to see him leave last year, so I saw this as a way to bring him back. I know him, he’s a year younger than Alex, so he has one more year of eligibility. He’s a solid guy and with us setting up to be hosting the Cyclone next year, we only had two 2000s on our roster, so it helps us get guys to help us this year, but also gives us a chore group next year when we host.
“Bradley is also a 2000, and a good stay-at-home defenceman, a good kid that will be a contributing guy in our top six defenceman.”
Robinson said Sheardown is a bit of a Hail Mary as he is going to Simon Fraser University and his availability for the PJHL season is in question.
“He is a very high end player and would be the best defenceman on our team if he reported, so I had them throw in his rights even knowing that he might not play,” he said. “I’m not counting on it. The deal is fair as is, but if he does play it’s a home run for us.”
As for the Marsh deal, Robinson said it was a spin-off of the first deal.
“We are in a transition with some of these older guys. Nick was on the fence after we talked and I knew I needed some more goals and more experience and Judson brings that, brings some offense and some heaviness – intangibles that we don’t have,” said Robinson. “It’s bitter sweet and it’s tough to do, but it’s the evolution of the game. I look it more as re-tooling than re-building. We want to be strong and younger this year and want to be positioned next year, so adding three 2000 players accomplishes both of those goals.”
Training camp started Aug. 6 and runs until Aug. 17 with main camp beginning on Aug. 18.
Delta travels to Ridge Meadows on Aug. 23 for its first exhibition game.
“It’s a new world. Jordy Engleson our goalie and Mark Ephstein are our two remaining guys from our golden team of 2017 now,” he said. “It’s a big change. We have a lot of young guys coming in. We’re going to be one of the youngest teams in the league. I think expectations are lower that we will fall back into the pack, but I think we’re going to surprise some people.”