Leafs continue to make moves, land Sawyer Hunt from Kimberley Dynamiters
Nelson brass continues to do its best to change the culture of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League franchise as management completed its second major deal in less than two weeks Tuesday.
Leafs acquired power forward and playoff standout Sawyer Hunt from the Kimberley Dynamiters in exchange for forward Nick Ketola and future considerations.
The move comes 12 days after the Leafs sent Austin Lindsay to Ridge Meadows of the Pacific Junior Hockey League for forward Dale Howell and netminder Jay Sandhu.
Hunt, a graduate of Nelson Minor Hockey, comes to the Leafs from a Dynamiters team that has spent the past two seasons at the top of the KIJHL — winning the league title in 2015 and finishing second to 100 Mile House Wranglers in 2016.
In 89 games spanning three seasons with Kimberley, the 5’11”, 175-pound Hunt scored 20 goals and had 32 assists for 52 points.
Hunt was a standout for the Nitros in the playoffs, especially this past season, as the power forward finished five goals and 11 assists for 16 points in 19 games.
“We have a few more guys in our sights, but the deal for Hunt was one of our main targets this summer,” said Leafs coach Sean Dooley.
“(Sawyer) is a local kid and one of the top players in the league.”
Hunt is also the brother of Dryden Hunt, who was named the WHL Player of the Year in 2016 after putting a stellar season together with Moose Jaw Warriors.
“(Sawyer) is a power forward and has the potential to be a top forward in the league,” Dooley said.
“He’s a gritty player that plays well at both ends of the rink and can put the puck in the net.”
In a separate deal Dooley said the Leafs also moved goaltender Patrick Ostermann to Creston in a cash deal.
“(Coach) Mario (DiBella) and I have been working hard recruiting and we’re adding what we believe are the key pieces to having successful season,” Dooley said.
“We’re definitely trying to change the culture from what we had the past two seasons,” he added.
“Mario and I are on the same page when it comes to what we look for in our players and what kind of team we want to build.
“We also want to get back to the days of development on and off the ice . Education, community involvement and putting a winning product on the ice.”
Nelson, struggled to finish fourth in the Murdoch Division before getting ousted from post season by Beaver Valley, opens the KIJHL season with main camp August 12-15 at the NDCC Arena.
The deal comes on the eve of the KIJHL AGM June 24-25 in Osoyoos.