The Alberni Valley Bulldogs have dealt team captain Ryan Steele ahead of the Wednesday, Jan. 10 trade deadline, completing a trade with the West Kelowna Warriors for 1999-born defenceman Spencer Hora and future considerations.
Hora hails from Kelowna and is in his second full BCHL season. He played his rookie campaign with the Salmon Arm Silverbacks, scoring once and adding seven assists in 54 regular season games. He totalled 10 assists in 21 games with Salmon Arm to begin this season, before being dealt to West Kelowna, where he chipped in one goal and three assists in 14 contests.
“Spencer is a player we’ve been targeting since very early on in the season,” said Bulldogs head coach Matt Hughes. “He brings a great blend of skill and toughness that will be a welcome addition on our blueline. He’s a young guy who already has nearly 100 games of BCHL experience under his belt and he will be a big part of our future as we build a winning team and culture.”
Meanwhile, Steele joins West Kelowna after suiting up in 86 regular season games for the Bulldogs over two seasons. The 20-year old was named captain in September and holds the team lead in scoring with 28 points.
“It’s a very difficult decision any time you look at trading a player of Ryan’s ability level and character,” added Hughes. “But ultimately, Ryan’s junior hockey career is nearing an end and we were able to acquire a young man who fits in well with both the short and long-term vision of our team. We also feel we have some younger players up front who will step up and thrive with the added opportunity in Ryan’s absence.”
Hora is expected to join the Bulldogs for Friday’s game in Victoria, and will make his home debut on Saturday against his former team, the Salmon Arm Silverbacks.
The Bulldogs have said that there will be a leadership announcement before the weekend.