Vipers trade ex-Leaf Correale to Grande Prairie Storm

Gus Correale has gone from Nelson to Vernon to Grande Prairie.
Gus Correale has gone from Nelson to Vernon to Grande Prairie.

By The Nelson Daily Sports

The Vernon Vipers are quickly shifting gears in regards to Nelson Leafs graduates.

The B.C. Hockey League franchise traded winger Gus Correale to the Grande Prairie Storm of the Alberta Junior Hockey League Tuesday.

In return for the Nelson Leafs rookie winger Vernon receives the rights to 18-year-old defenceman Austin Baecker and future considerations.

Earlier this season the Vipers dealt defenceman ex-Leaf Bennett Hambrook to the Prince George Spruce Kings of future considerations.

Both Correale and Hambrook had made the jump to the Tier II Junior A after successful seasons with in the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League with the Leafs, leading Nelson to the league final against Revelstoke.

Correale, 17, had struggled to make his mark with the defending Royal Bank Cup winners and was a healthy scratch for many of the games.

Correale, known for his speed and shifty moves, finished the season fifth in team scoring with 14 goals and 29 assists in 48 games.

Hambrook, 18, was a tower of strength on the Leaf blueline with an aggressive style of play. He finished the season with 14 points.

Two former Leaf players remain on the Vipers roster — center Dylan Walchuk and defenceman Phillip Patenaude.

Walchuk, part of the Royal Bank run, leads Vernon in scoring with 10 goals and nine assists in 19 games.

Patenaude has played 12 of the Vipers 19 and has one point.

Walchuk off to represent Canada West . . .

Dylan Walchuk is one of eight players from the BCHL to earn spots on Canada West at the upcoming 2010 World Junior A Challenge, November 8-14 at the South Okanagan Events Centre in Penticton.

Walchuk leads the Vipers in scoring with 19 points in 18 games and played a key role in helping Vernon to their second consecutive RBC Cup championship in May as a rookie.

The 18-year old Walchuk is committed to Northern Michigan University for the 2011/12 season.

Sam Mellor of the Trail Smoke Eaters joins Walchuk. The Cranbrook, B.C. product is currently second in BCHL scoring with 35 points through 19 games on the heels of a 63-point rookie season.

Mellor has committed to attend the University of Alaska-Anchorage and was recently named to the Watch List for the 2011 NHL Draft.

sports@thenelsondaily.com