Ethan McLaughlin is expected to join the Bulldogs in time for this weekend’s three-game road trip. SUBMITTED PHOTO

BCHL: Bulldogs deal veteran Rizzolo in trade deadline deal

Alberni Valley Bulldogs pick up the playing rights of rookie blueliner Ethan McLaughlin

The Alberni Valley Bulldogs have completed a trade with the Salmon Arm Silverbacks, acquiring the CJHL playing rights of defenceman Ethan McLaughlin and future considerations in return for veteran defenceman Darren Rizzolo.

Rizzolo, the longest-tenured player on the Alberni Valley Bulldogs, had one goal and 10 assists in 26 games this season, as well as 22 penalty minutes. In 176 career BCHL games split between Chilliwack, Vernon and Alberni Valley, the Mission, B.C. product has a combined for 10 goals and 38 assists.

“Darren has been a key member of our team over the past two and a half seasons and a well-liked individual in our room and in the community,” said head coach Matt Hughes. “We appreciate all his efforts in a Bulldogs uniform and wish him nothing but success in Salmon Arm.”

McLaughlin is in his first BCHL season and has three assists in 36 regular season appearances. He played midget hockey with the Okanagan Hockey Academy, netting 37 points in 36 games last season while making his Junior A debut as an affiliate player with the Penticton Vees.

“Ethan is a smart, two-way defenceman who moves the puck well and has the mobility to contribute in all three zones,” said Hughes. “He’s transitioned nicely to the level of play in the BCHL and we expect him to step right in and help our group now and in the future.”

McLaughlin is expected to join the Bulldogs in time for this weekend’s three-game road trip to Wenatchee, West Kelowna and Coquitlam.

In another trade deadline move, the Alberni Valley Bulldogs have acquired the CJHL playing rights of forward Michael Hodge in return for future considerations.

Hodge has five goals and 12 points in 35 regular season games as a BCHL rookie after playing with the Calgary Midget AAA Flames last season.

“Michael plays the game fast and has some really good offensive tools, along with a great work ethic,” said Hughes. “We’re familiar with him going back to last season and he performed well at one of our spring camps, so we were excited when the opportunity came up to make this move and add him to our group.”

Hodge is also expected to join the Bulldogs in time for this weekend’s three-game road trip.

Seven weeks remain in the BCHL’s regular season, and the roster freeze deadline is at 3 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 10. After this deadline has passed, no transaction will be approved until June 1, 2019.

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