June 14th, 2024

Quality players arrive – and depart – in Canes trade deadline


By Dale Woodard - Lethbridge Herald on January 19, 2022.

Some good players came in as the Lethbridge Hurricanes wrapped up another Western Hockey League trade deadline.
But as he addressed the media Tuesday morning at the Enmax Centre to recap this year’s trade deadline, which passed at 3 p.m. yesterday, Hurricanes general manager Peter Anholt said some good players went out as well.
The Canes brought in overage forward Corson Hopwo from the Medicine Hat Tigers and 2004-born Brayden Edwards from the Winnipeg Ice in addition to a second-round draft pick in 2025 and a fourth-round pick in 2023.
But like any deal, it came with a price as overage Hurricane forward Logan Barlage and a fourth-round draft pick in the 2022 headed to Medicine Hat and 19-year-old forward Chase Wheatcroft departed for Winnipeg.
Barlage was part of the blockbuster trade with the Swift Current Broncos four years ago that saw forwards Giorgio Estephan and Tanner Nagel as well as goaltender Stuart Skinner head to Swift Current to earn a WHL championship title.
Wheatcroft, 19, was undrafted in the WHL and was signed by the Canes in 2018.
“It was really a hard day,” said Anholt. “Logan has been here one quarter of his life and Wheaty was a big part of this group over the last few years, too. It’s really hard to move good guys out. But when you look at it, we feel we’ve added a really good player in Hopwo as an overage and he should give us something and with Edwards coming in we have a young centre iceman who we think can give us something, too.”
Although a part of the business, sending players on their way to another team is tough on players and staff.
“It’s hard,” said Anholt. “Anytime you have your buddies walk out of the room and go play other places, it’s not easy. It’s a hard day for me, but you pull your boots back on (Tuesday) morning and get to work. We have two new teammates in our dressing room and it’s up to our group to welcome them in and push them to be better and help our team be better. But (Monday) was a hard day.”
In his last year of junior eligibility, Hopwo had eight goals and 16 points in 25 games with the Tigers this season.
The native of Duncan, B.C. has 43 goals and 96 career points in 170 career games with Medicine Hat.
“We really like Hopwo as a player,” said Anholt. “He can skate, make plays and he can score. I think, right away, our top-six is stronger by adding him into our lineup and it should give us something on the powerplay.”
At 17, Edwards comes in as the younger piece, having posted three assists in 11 games in Winnipeg this season.
“Edwards, we’ll see,” said Anholt. “His compete, character and hockey sense are good. So the opportunity will be here for him and he’ll be one of those guys that for us to be successful we need our support to play and play hard and be successful.”
Monday’s changes present an opportunity for the remaining players to step up as the Canes make a push to get back into the Eastern Conference playoff picture.
“We need more out of our support group and we need guys to take their game to another level for us to be successful,” said Anholt. “In think all-in-all we added some assets, but when we look at it as whole, we’re here to make the playoffs and we still believe this group can make playoffs and it’s up to our players to have the challenge from within that they’re going to play and create habits that are going to make us play like the big team that we are and play the right way to get us into the playoffs.”
Anholt was busy heading into the new year.
On Dec. 28 the Canes sent forward Noah Boyko to the Saskatoon Blades for forward Hayden Smith and a third-round draft pick in 2025.
Three days later, the Hurricanes dealt defenceman Trevor Thurston and a sixth-round pick in 2023 to the Prince Albert Raiders in exchange for forward Tyson Laventure and defenceman Ross Stanley.
The Hurricanes also waived Euro forward Peter Repcik and claimed fellow Euro pick Liekit Reichle off waivers from the Prince George Cougars.
“As a manager, you always have your eye on assets, how you handle those assets and how you create more assets. In the meantime, you’re giving your coaches the tools that they can be successful, too,” said Anholt. “I think we were really patient with the group coming out of training camp and wanted them to play a certain way. I think there were times when we showed flashes, but I think we didn’t play the way we had hoped we would play over the long haul and on a regular basis. So it was time for us to shuffle the deck and I think, for the most part, we’ve added some good pieces and some really good pieces have gone out and they’re going to be successful with their new team, also. But this is the group we’ve got now and these are the guys we’re going to work with. I like our group. We’re still big and we’re still strong, but we’re a lot younger. So the future looks bright.”
The 14-14-2-1 Hurricanes return to action Friday night as they host the Red Deer Rebels at 7 p.m. at the Enmax Centre.
Following their shootout loss to the Edmonton Oil Kings, the Hurricanes are tied with the 13-17-4-1 Broncos for ninth and one point back of the 15-18-1-1 Prince Albert Raiders, who hold onto eight in the East.
Three points ahead are the 14-12-4-2 Calgary Hitmen in seventh, while the 17-16-3-1 Moose Jaw Warriors sit seven points up in sixth.
Having been dealt for 24 hours prior, Hopwo ran through his first practice with the Canes Tuesday, skating alongside the same Hurricanes he battled and jawed with during his years as a Tiger.
“It was a pretty long day, a pretty crazy day and a sad day as well,” said Hopwo. “But I’m excited to be here and looking forward to starting some games and getting to know everyone.”
Suddenly, those foes are teammates.
“A little bit awkward,” said Hopwo. “We’ve definitely had our differences between the two teams, but it’s exciting. I get to meet new guys and get to know them personally.”
With Medicine Hat in the Eastern Conference basement, Hopwo now gets on a team in the playoff hunt.
“Very excited,” said Hopwo. “I love this time of year and I’m excited to strive and help the team get a playoff spot. So I think it’s an exciting time and we’re going to do well.”
Hopwo said not much changes as he gets ready to make his Hurricanes debut Friday when the Rebels pay a visit.
“I’m just going to go in and try to play my game and not think too much into the game. I’m going to try and play how I want to play and let things happen. It’s just hockey and we’ve all been playing it for a long time. Once we step on the ice it’s going to be the same.”

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