(Originally published in the Kindersley Clarion – June 25, 2014)
The Iron Horse Kindersley Klippers have completed a seven player trade with the La Ronge Ice Wolves which includes the Klippers’ leading scorer, Colby Daniels.
Daniels, along with fellow forward Dylan Tuskey, and list players Kade Mosimann and Tyler Pickett have been sent to the Ice Wolves in return for forwards Owen LaClare, Rhett Kehoe, and the rights to list player Cole Young.
The move addressed the Klippers’ need for right wingers, which the team lacked since players like Cody Thiel, Eric Pouliot, and Brandon Lauder left.
LaClare is coming off a banner year after shattering his rookie season numbers. The Edam, Sask. native finished the 2013-14 season with 24 goals and 42 points – three and a half times his offensive output in his rookie year. LaClare was also the only SJHL player to make the Canada West roster at last year’s World Junior A Challenge.
Klippers head coach and GM Rockie Zinger believes the numbers put up by LaClare are just a taste of what’s to come from the 18 year old. Laclare has two years of eligibility left in the SJHL and has a smart hockey sense.
“The success he had last year wasn’t by accident. He goes to the net hard, he’s physical, he’s in the greasy, dirty areas,” Zinger said. “If you surround him with the right players he should be able to, if not duplicate but, increase what he did last year.”
While the trade has been announced, Klippers fans should be aware there is a chance, albeit a small one, that Kindersley is not LaClare’s destination this season. LaClare was drafted 311th overall in the United States Hockey League draft by the Waterloo Black Hawks. However, Zinger notes that initial talks with LaClare have been positive.
“Let’s put it to you this way: we wouldn’t have made the deal if I didn’t think we’d be able to get Owen to come to Kindersley. That doesn’t mean he’s confirmed that yet, but there’s been a lot of homework on our end and we feel comfortable with the odds and with our chances. Comfortable enough that we thought it was a good deal to be made,” Zinger said.
Forward Rhett Kehoe will begin his third season in the SJHL in a third different jersey. Kehoe started his junior career with the Melville Millionaires before moving on to La Ronge. Kehoe’s 11 goals and 10 assists in 55 games aren’t eye-popping, but will still help out the team. Plus Kehoe does add veteran experience that will be invaluable to the Iron Horse Kindersley Klippers.
“But at the end of the day when the 60 minutes is over from a game, he’s going to be able to look you in the eye and tell you that he worked his hardest. That’s what you want from players,” Zinger said.
Young is still a few years away from joining the Klippers. Young is the younger brother of Klippers left winger Cody Young and, despite being different style players, they both have redeeming qualities.
“That was one thing that you could never question or call into question is his work ethic,” Zinger said.
Overall, Zinger believes the trade will help both teams. For the Klippers, the trade fulfills a couple of elements.
“This trade adds two elements to our club that we were maybe lacking a little bit. Offensive production and adds a little bit of leadership inside our locker room,” Zinger said.
The Klippers’ offseason should quiet down for a bit after completing the trade with La Ronge in addition to a three-way trade earlier this month which sent goaltender Tyrell King to the BCHL in return for defenceman Joel Webb. The team is still in need of a young goaltender, but believe that can be obtained through a list player or through free agency.
“I see us taking a little bit of a break for a bit,” Zinger said.