BULLDOGS CONTINUE MAKEOVER ON BACK-END WITH FINAL TRADE DEADLINE MOVES
Port Alberni, BC – The Alberni Valley Bulldogs made a pair of moves before the British Columbia Hockey League’s trade deadline on Wednesday evening, signing 1999-born defenceman Lucas Patton from the VIJHL’s Nanaimo Buccaneers and trading 1997-born defenceman Connor Welsh to the Trail Smoke Eaters in return for future considerations.
Patton hails from Sechelt, BC and was in his rookie season with the Buccaneers, having dressed in 28 regular season games while picking up five assists. The 18-year old also suited up in a pair of games with the Bulldogs as an affiliate player and has practiced regularly with the club over the past three months.
“Lucas is a strong defensive defenceman who skates well and competes at a high level,” says Bulldogs head coach Matt Hughes. “He’s impressed us as a person and player in his time as an affiliate and we feel he’s ready to step into our lineup on a regular basis. Lucas has a great deal of upside and we’re excited to see him continue his development in a Bulldogs jersey.”
Meanwhile, Welsh joins a Smoke Eaters team that is currently tied for second in the overall BCHL standings. The 20-year old has been a potent offensive performer from the blueline in his two seasons in the Alberni Valley, with 12 goals and 45 points to show for 97 regular season appearances.
“Connor is a great person and a skilled player who has made a big impact on our team both on and off the ice,” says Hughes. “Making the decision to move him today wasn’t easy, but we made a trade that fits with the best interests of our organization moving forward. We’d like to thank Connor for all he did as a Bulldogs player and as a positive ambassador for our team in the community.”
Patton will play his first game as a full-time member of the Bulldogs on Friday night when the team travels south to face the Victoria Grizzlies. Friday’s game also marks the return of 1998-born forward Julian Benner and 1999-born forward Michael Sacco, who had each been out with long-term injuries.
“Getting Julian and Michael back in the lineup is really like making two big additions on top of the other moves we completed at the deadline,” says Hughes. “Both guys have shown they can make a real impact offensively and we’ll look forward to their contributions down the stretch run.”
The Bulldogs have also announced that forward Liam Lytton and defenceman Ezra Paddock will miss the remainder of the season due to injury.
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