On the verge of a new B.C. Hockey League season, the Cowichan Valley Capitals have suddenly found themselves in the market for a new goaltender.
The Caps were surprised on Monday when goalie Will Gurski’s Western Hockey League rights were traded from the Winnipeg Ice to the Vancouver Giants, and Gurski opted to report to the Giants.
Cowichan acquired the junior A rights to the 2002-born Duncan product from the Manitoba Junior Hockey League’s Winnipeg Freeze in June, and he was expected to be a key piece of the Caps team this coming season. The WHL trade came “out of the blue,” according to Capitals head coach and general manager Brian Passmore.
“He was mentally pumped to be with us the whole year,” Passmore said. “There was no indication that he was going to play in the Western Hockey League, and he was coming to us. This is a good opportunity for him, and he’s going to take it. It’s kind of a kick for him, but we understand why he’s doing it. We still have his [junior A] rights, and we would welcome him back.”
The Caps still have fellow 2002 goalie Jayden Shull on board. Shull backed up Lucas Pfeil in the 2020-21 pod season, posting a 5.31 goals-against average and .874 save percentage in six games. The team also has some young netminders coming to training camp, which begins this week, and are keeping an eye on WHL and U.S. Hockey League training camps, as well as trade opportunities with other junior A clubs.
In an unrelated move last week, the Caps dealt 2003-born forward Simon Pollock to the Weyburn Red Wings of the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League. Pollock played 10 games for the Caps in the pod season, recording one assist.
The Caps’ camp opens this Friday, when 67 players are expected to report. Scrimmages will run over the course of the weekend, culminating in the Bill Dellebuur Memorial Cup interquad game at the Big Stick on Sunday at 7 p.m. Entry to the game will be by donation, and proceeds will go to charity. Masks must be work, and proof of vaccination will be required as per Provincial Health Office regulations.
The Capitals’ preseason opener is set for Tuesday, Sept. 21, when they play host to the Powell River Kings at 2 p.m., followed by a home-and-home series with the Victoria Grizzlies, in Duncan on Friday, Sept. 24 at 7 p.m. and at the Q Centre on Saturday, Sept. 25.