It was a busy few days for a pair of young goaltenders with Semiahmoo Peninsula connections earlier this month, as Western Hockey League teams scrambled to shore up their situations between the pipes.
On Oct. 4, 20-year-old goaltender Adam Morrison, a Semiahmoo Minor Hockey alum and draft pick of the Philadelphia Flyers, was dealt, along with right-winger Levi Bews, from the Saskatoon Blades to his hometown Vancouver Giants, while another local netminder, Jon Groenheyde, was sent from the Edmonton Oil Kings to the Swift Current Broncos.
To acquire Morrison, considered one of the top goaltenders in the WHL, the Giants paid a steep price; forward Michael Burns, defenceman Zach Hodder and a draft pick were sent to the Blades.
“It’s tough trading Michael Burns, who was a complete player for us. However, our need for an experienced goaltender has become apparent, and in order to acquire a quality player, you need to give up a quality player,” said Vancouver Giants general manager Scott Bonner in a release.
For Morrison, the return home got off to a good start – he backstopped the Giants to a shootout victory against the Spokane Chiefs in his first game.
Groenheyde, meanwhile, joins his third WHL team; he began his career with the Kamloops Blazers, before moving on to the Oil Kings last year. He played 34 games for Edmonton, and played one this year before the deal to the Broncos. He was swapped for 20-year-old forward Jordan Peddle.
“Groenheyde brings us a No. 1 goalie. He has experience, size, and it’ll give our other goalies a chance to learn a little bit,” said Swift Current head coach/GM Mark Lamb in a video posted on the team’s website. “He’ll solidify (the crease) for us.”
Meanwhile, a third netminder with ties to the Peninsula, former Surrey Eagles starter Karel St. Laurent, is also on the move, after being released from his tryout with the American Hockey League’s Chicago Wolves. St. Laurent, who backstopped the Eagles on their playoff run last season, had been in Vancouver Canucks camp to start the pre-season but was assigned to Wolves camp last month. Despite a strong showing, he was unable to unseat either one of the Wolves’ two veteran netminders.
The Quebec native didn’t take long to find a place to play, however. He was originally planning to tend goal for the University of Quebec-Trois Rivieries, but last Thursday announced on Twitter that he was instead sticking with the pro game and heading to ECHL’s Reading Royals.
“On my way to Reading, Pennsylvania. Can’t wait to meet the guys and the organization,” he wrote.