The Surrey Eagles landed one of the bigger fish on the BC Hockey League trade market Thursday, adding forward Adam Tambellini from the Vernon Vipers in exchange for Mason Blacklock and future considerations.
With BCHL teams following a league-imposed media-embargo until 10 a.m. Friday morning – more than 12 hours after the league’s 8 p.m. Jan. 10 deadline – Tambellini broke news of his trade himself, announcing on Twitter Thursday afternoon that he was “going to miss all the guys in Vernon, couldn’t ask for better friends. Excited to move on and become a member of the Surrey Eagles.”
Tambellini has 22 goals and 39 points in 36 with Vernon this season. The 18-year-old – whose father, Steve, is a one-time Vancouver Canuck player and executive and current general manager of the Edmonton Oilers – is also one of the BCHL’s top prospects for the upcoming National Hockey League Entry Draft. Tambellini, who has a scholarship secured with the University of North Dakota, is rated as a ‘B’ prospect by NHL Central Scouting.
Tambellini’s older brother, Jeff, is a former BCHL star with the Chilliwack Chiefs who has also played with the Vancouver Canucks and Los Angeles Kings. He now plays professionally in Switzerland.
“We like the way our team has been playing as of late, and we’re excited to be able to add a proven goal scorer in Adam,” said Eagles head coach and GM Matt Erhart in a Friday morning press release. “I think he’ll fit in well with our group up front, but whenever you make a deal where you bring in a player like Adam, you have to give up a quality player in return. Mason has really turned his game around, especially in the last 20 games, and he’s going to a good situation in Vernon where he’ll get an opportunity to be a big part of that team and showcase himself for the future.”
Blacklock was in his first season with his hometown Eagles after being acquired in a trade Sept. 15. The well-travelled Semiahmoo Minor Hockey Association alum – he’s also played in Langley and Nanaimo – had nine goals and 17 points in 32 games with the Eagles this season.
On Thursday, Blacklock also took to Twitter to announce his move to a a new team.
“Never gets easier. Will truly never forget the memories in my short time playing for my hometown, and the great guys I met along the way.”
He later tweeted that he “was excited to join such an amazing franchise in the Vernon Vipers.”
The deadline-day deal was the first in three seasons for Erhart, who, in the past, has stayed silent on the final trading day, choosing instead of make moves ahead of time.
Erhart was busy in the weeks leading up to the deadline, too, acquiring defenceman Ryan Fraser-Lee from the Langley Rivermen on Jan. 9 in exchange for future considerations, while shipping blue-liner Eric Chevrier to the Alberta Junior Hockey League’s Brooks Bandits in order to make room for Fraser-Lee.
Surrey is the third stop of the season for Fraser-Lee, a Michigan native. He started the season with the Pembroke Lumber Kings of the Central Canada Hockey League before joining the Rivermen in late November.
The six-foot-two Fraser-Lee is a defensive defenceman, and did not put up any points in 10 games with Langley.
“Ryan is a big defenseman and a right handed shot that will provide some more depth to our back end,” said Erhart.
“We’re excited to have him, and we think it solidifies our defensive core going forward.”
The deal comes just two weeks after the Eagles sent rookie blue-liner Austen Bietenbeck – a Langley native – to the Rivermen, and brought it 20-year-old d-man Troy Paterson from the Cowichan Valley Capitals.