May 20th, 2024

Hurricanes trade Boyko to Blades


By Dale Woodard on December 30, 2021.

After a flurry of post-Christmas trades across the Western Hockey League, the Lethbridge Hurricanes entered the fray Wednesday.

The Canes announced they had traded 19-year-old forward Noah Boyko to the Saskatoon Blades in exchange for 2004-born forward Hayden Smith and a third round draft pick in the 2025 Western Hockey League Prospects Draft.

Later Wednesday, the Hurricanes claimed 2003-born European forward Liekit Reichle off waivers from the Prince George Cougars while waiving 2004-born forward Peter Repcik.

Having spent his WHL career in Lethbridge, Boyko, 19, was selected by the Hurricanes in the first round and 16th overall in the 2017 WHL draft.

The Fort Saskatchewan native played 155 games in Hurricanes silks, posting 38 goals and 71 points.

Smith, 17, was a second-round draft pick by the Blades – 24th overall – in the 2019 WHL draft. The Chetwynd, B.C. product has played 25 games this season with Saskatoon, going pointless with six penalty minutes.

“I think when you look at our team, we’ve had half a year to try and play a consistent game,” said Hurricanes general manager Peter Anholt.

“I know the coaches have worked really hard to try to get the game consistent and how we’re supposed to play. We’re one of the biggest teams in our league and yet I think there are times it’s a hard game to play and sometimes I don’t think we realize we have to play that way.”

The Hurricanes bring in Smith hoping to give the six-foot, 180-pound forward a new start.

“He never got on track there (Saskatoon), so hopefully he comes here, gets a fresh start and can be a better player here than he was in Saskatoon,” said Anholt, also noting the draft pick the Canes picked up in the deal. “Then we get another chip to be able to move at some point in the third round if we need to. I think it’s more inventory to be able to work with.”

Boyko scored his 11th goal of the season Tuesday night in a 5-2 loss to the Swift Current Broncos, surpassing his previous-best goal totals of 10 in 2019-20 and the shortened 2021 season.

“He’s been a really solid Hurricane,” said Anholt. “He’s a really good representative of our hockey club, this wasn’t an easy day for me. But business is business.

“I think it was a hard year for him at 16. But he made strides and he was really playing well as a 17-year-old early. Then he got hurt with a concussion and that really set him back for the rest of that year.”

Boyko’s 17 points this season were eight points shy of his career-high 25 in 2019-20.

“He was just getting going recently and playing pretty consistently and scoring consistently,” said Anholt. “He’s a really good kid. You’ll never find a nicer kid and was certainly a good representative of our hockey club.”

Smith will be in the lineup when the Hurricanes head to Calgary to face the Hitmen on New Year’s Day.

“He can skate, I think that’s first and foremost,” said Anholt. “If he can bring speed to our lineup, be aggressive and play hard, that’s first and foremost. We’ll see how he goes. We’ll see where he fits in the lineup and how the coaches use him. Ultimately, it’s up to Hayden. Here’s a second chance for him and hopefully he can take advantage of it.”

Smith scored nine goals and 24 points in 2019-2020 with the Yale Hockey Academy U18 Prep team, while adding one goal in two post-season games.

In his WHL draft season, Smith had 24 goals and 47 points in 30 games with the Yale Hockey U15 Prep team, finishing first in team scoring.

The left-handed shot added a team-high three goals and five points in five playoff games this season for Yale.

Tuesday night’s loss to the Broncos puts the Hurricanes at 12-13-2-0 and into a three-way tie for ninth with the Regina Pats (13-16-0-0) and the 12-15-1-1 Prince Albert Raiders.

They’re three points back of the 12-11-3-2 Calgary Hitmen for eighth place and four back of the seventh place Broncos (13-15-3-1) in tight Eastern Conference.

They have a busy schedule in front of them as they look to make up some ground.

“We have 43 games after Christmas, so you’re playing so regularly that you have to have a consistent game and play hard and play how you’re supposed to play,” said Anholt. “If we do that we’ll move up in the standings and hopefully get into the playoffs and that’s the whole idea here.”

“Ultimately, our older guys have to play better and have to be more consistent and understand what kind of a team we are. When it’s all said and done, that’s where we’re at with our hockey club.”

The Hurricanes pulled the trigger on a second deal Wednesday, grabbing 18-year-old Reichle from the Cougars while putting Repcik on waivers.

The 6’1, 183-pound forward played 26 games this season with Prince George totaling 12 points on three goals and nine assists.

The product of Zurich, Switzerland scored 20 goals and 75 points in 43 games in 2020-21 with the GCK Lions U20 team in Switzerland’s U20-Elite league.

Reichle also had one goal in five games for Switzerland at the 2021 World Under-18 Championships.

Repcik, 17, was a second-round selection and 115th overall – by the Hurricanes in the 2021 CHL Import Draft.

In 25 games this season, the native of Kosice, Slovakia had two assists.

After Saturday’s game in Calgary, the Canes are back at the Enmax Centre Sunday at 4 p.m. when the Broncos return.

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