The Alberni Valley Bulldogs hit the ice last Friday with a slightly new look, following the Jan. 10 B.C. Hockey League trade deadline.
Joining the team are Chase Paylor, who the Bulldogs acquired from the Olds Grizzlys of the Alberta Junior Hockey League, and Teal Burns, 20,who comes from the Cowichan Valley Capitals in exchange for future considerations.
Gone are 20-year-old Lars Hepso and Adam Rossignol, who have joined the Coquitlam Express lineup in exchange for future considerations.
Bulldogs’ coaching staff said in a statement on the team’s website that trading Hepso “was the toughest deal of the day”, as he had been a model teammate and community member. However, BCHL teams are only able to dress so many 20-year-olds, and the addition of Burns put them over the limit.
Burns, a forward, adds depth and playoff experience to the Bulldogs’ lineup. He played in the BCHL finals last season and in the 2009 Royal Bank Cup.
The Bulldogs also honoured a release request from second-year defenceman Brandon Halls, who has battled injury and illness for the past two seasons. Halls missed 19 games in 2011-12 due to concussion-like symptoms then missed all of November this season after undergoing an emergency appendectomy.
Breaking back into a strong defensive lineup bolstered by the presence of Jared Wilson, Kurtis Gosselin, Bo Pellah and Eric Walker proved tough for Halls.
The Comox Valley Glacier Kings of the Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League were happy to pick up the 1993-born defenceman.
With the empty spot in the roster, Bulldogs’ head coach Kevin Willison promoted defenceman Ryan Buse, an affiliated player who hails from Port Alberni. Buse played this season with the Oceanside Generals in the VIJHL.
ICE CHIPS…Eric Walker has returned to the Bulldogs after an eight-game stint with the Western Hockey League’s Portland Winterhawks. Walker had one assist and a plus-four rating in eight games.