The Alberni Valley Bulldogs have acquired another goaltender in a trade with Merritt Centennials.
Connor LaCouvee, originally from Qualicum Beach, comes to the Bulldogs after compiling a 4-0 record and .918 save percentage in four games with the Cents.
“Our relationship goes back few years when (LaCouvee) was here in camp,” Bulldogs’ head coach Kevin Willison said.
“We see potential in him. He’s big, he’s athletic, he’s a focused young man and he knows what he wants.”
LaCouvee attended training camp with the Bulldogs in 2011-12, but was snatched up by Cowichan Valley Capitals when the Bulldogs hesitated to commit to him.
With LaCouvee’s arrival, the Bulldogs had three goaltenders—Tyger Howat joined the team last month and Brad Rebagliati was still with the team. To make room for LaCouvee, Rebagliati has been released.
Rebagliati was poised to take over the starting slot when Jay Deo headed to the NCAA after last season, but he never took command of the position.
“With our start at the beginning of the year and Brad struggling a little bit trying to find his game, we couldn’t give him the time he needed to develop,” Willison said.
LaCouvee is the Bulldogs’ fourth goaltender: Blake Pearson also donned the Bulldog uni for a few games.
LaCouvee is well-travelled: he was traded by the Cowichan Valley Capitals in June to the Nanaimo Clippers when Caps’ coach Bob Beatty said last June he would probably get more playing time.
“We felt as a 19-year-old, if he wasn’t going to be the starting goaltender, it wouldn’t have been fair,” Beatty told the Cowichan News Leader.
LaCouvee played 20 games for the Caps last season and finished with a 3.61 goals-against average and .904 save percentage.
LaCouvee started this season with Nanaimo but was traded for future considerations to the Grande Prairie Storm of the Alberta Junior Hockey League.
The Storm sent LaCouvee to Merritt Centennials less than two weeks later, again for future considerations.
“He’s put on a few miles in the last little bit,” Willison said Wednesday prior to the Bulldogs’ game against Cowichan. “He practiced with us this morning and he’s pretty excited.”
LaCouvee was due to start Wednesday’s game.
The Bulldogs also this week acquired defenceman Brodie Clowes and future considerations from the Whitecourt Wolverines of the AJHL in exchange for Luke Fenske. They also released forward Dean Allison.
Clowes was originally a fifth-round draft pick in 2010 by the Chilliwack Bruins of the Western Hockey League. He broke into junior hockey with the Olds Grizzlys (AJHL) in 2011-12.
At six-foot-two and 195 pounds, the right-handed blueliner plays physically and has a good shot from the point.
With a file from Cowichan News Leader