Leaf skipper hopes changes can bolster roster for KIJHL stretch run
Frank Maida played the part of a modern-day Sam Pollock as the Nelson Leafs GM looked to bolster the Murdoch Division squad for the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League stretch run.
Maida traded goalie Tyler Moffat to the Grand Prairie Kings of the North West Junior Hockey League for winger Adam Hodge during the Christmas Holiday break.
The deal was made possible after local netminder Adam Maida returned to the Leafs after recovering from knee surgery.
“It’s never easy to trade a player but for Tyler, Grand Prairie is also hosting the Alberta championships so Tyler will be guaranteed to be playing in a provincial tournament,” Maida said as the Leafs enter 2014 second in the Murdoch Division, three points behind Beaver Valley Nitehawks.
Adam Maida joins Brad Rebagliati as Nelson goalie combo.
Maida said the 6’1” 205-pound Hodge saw his first action with Nelson during the home-and-home series loss against Beaver Valley — 6-2 Sunday in Fruitvale and a tough 3-2 decision New Year’s Eve at the NDCC Arena.
Maida added more size with the signing of Arizona native Rayce Miller.
Miller attended Leaf training camp during the summer but suffered a shoulder injury.
The 6-foot, 185-pound winger, also seeing action against Beaver Valley, has successfully recovered from shoulder surgery.
The addition of the Hodge-Miller bookends was showcased Tuesday on the Leafs top line with speedy center Jamie Vlanich.
“I know both Hodge and Miller are going to fit into our lineup very, very well,” Maida explained.
“They both had very good games (against Beaver Valley) and I think they’re both going to get stronger in future games to come.”
TRAVIS WELLMAN missed the New Year’s Eve classic against Beaver Valley with a lower body injury.
Maida said the team’s leading scorer is day-to-day and could see action this weekend during a three-game road trip to the East Kootenay.
DEFENCEMAN J.J. Beitel was released by the Leafs in December, but continues to be with the team.
Beitel suffered a concussion earlier this season.
Nelson has until February 10, depending on if there are available cards, to return the Alberta rearguard to the roster.
The Leafs currently have 22 players on the roster.
The BC Hockey cutoff date for filing rosters is January 10.
Maida said the team is still in the market for a defenceman before the roster deadline.
NELSON is off to the East Kootenay for a three-game set against Eddie Mountain competition.
Friday Nelson meets Kimberley before travelling to Golden Saturday.
Sunday the trip concludes in Invermere against the Columbia Valley Rockies.
Nelson plays in Castlegar Friday, January 10, before returning home Saturday, January 11 to face Spokane Braves.