Leafs acquire former Coyote defenceman as junior teams finalize rosters
The Nelson Leafs beefed up the blue line with the acquisition of Robson Cramer from Wichita Falls of the NAHL (North American Hockey League) as Kootenay International Junior Hockey League teams scrambled to finalize teams in light of Thursday’s BC Hockey roster deadline.
Cramer, from Summerland, is no stranger to the KIJHL having spent two seasons with Osoyoos Coyotes before being moved south of the 49th parallel in November.
“(Robson) is an offensive guy who can quarterback our player play and give us some depth on the blue line,” said Leaf coach Frank Maida of the former Coyote.
Thursday was the final day junior teams could add players to the roster.
Maida has been working the phones of late looking for a defenceman and forward to bolster a lineup that has played second fiddle of late to Murdoch rivals Castlegar Rebels and Beaver Valley Nitehawks.
The Leafs are 0-3 against the two Murdoch rivals since mid-December.
The 5’10”, 150-pound Cramer played 17 games for Osoyoos before being shipped to Wichita Falls November 20 for future considerations.
Maida is confident the addition of Cramer gives Nelson a bit of a cushion on the blue line.
“Robson should strengthen the back end,” Maida explained. “I’m satisfied now with our goaltending and we can score goals so I feel now we’re ready for the most exciting time of the season, the playoffs.”
The addition of Cramer gives the Leafs nine defenceman on the roster. However, Nelson Minor Hockey grad Blake Arcuri is still recovering from a concussion suffered before Christmas in Spokane.
Cramer makes it three new players on the roster for the Leafs.
During the Christmas break Maida dealt for Grand Forks leading scorer Connor Gross to fill the void created by the loss of Colton McCarthy to Moose Jaw of the WHL.
The Nelson skipper then shipped goalie Cody Boeckman to Golden before grabbing former Leaf Marcus Beesley from Kamloops.
Earlier Maida sent disgruntled forward Jacob Boyczuk to Revelstoke Grizzlies for future considerations.
Where Nelson will finish in the tight Murdoch Division is anyone’s guess.
The Leafs currently lead the division by two points over Castlegar and Beaver Valley, although the Hawks have played two more games.
The Rebels were in Grand Forks Thursday to face the last place Bruins.
Nelson, 2-3-1 in the last six games, completes a five-game road trip this weekend with a swing through the Okanagan Division.
Friday Nelson visits Chase Heat before travelling to face Kamloops Storm Saturday.
The Leafs conclude the trip Sunday in Armstrong against the North Okanagan Knights.
Nelson returns home January 18 to host Columbia Valley Rockies at 7 p.m. in the