MJHL franchises make tweaks on deadline day


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While it’s not the glut of deals that went down last year, both of the region’s Manitoba Junior Hockey League (MJHL) franchises made roster tweaks on the Canadian Junior Hockey League (CJHL) trade deadline.

The Steinbach Pistons, who bolstered their lineup by adding four veteran players before Jan. 10 last season, only swapped out defenseman Hugo Larkin for Parker Jasper in two separate deals.

Larkin, a 2004-born defenseman from St-Bruno-de-Guigues, Que., will be returning to his home province, as the Pistons received future considerations for moving him to the Joliette Prédateurs of the Quebec Junior Hockey League. He has 47 games of major-junior experience for the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League’s Val-d’Or Foreurs. In 22 games for Steinbach this season Larkin picked up three assists.

Larkin’s departure left a spot open on the blueline, and Pistons head coach and general manager Paul Dyck filled it with a player he noted had been on their radar for a long time.

Steinbach committed future considerations to the Whitecourt Wolverines of the Alberta Junior Hockey League (AJHL) in exchange for 2003-born defender Parker Jasper.

The Regina-born player has nearly 60 games of experience in the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League (SJHL) with the Yorkton Terriers. He started this season with the North American Hockey League’s El Paso Rhinos.

“(Jasper) is skilled and poised and works the offensive blue line very well,” Dyck said.

“He brings experience and is going to fit extremely well with our group.”

Down the highway, the Niverville Nighthawks made similar deals, sending out one player and receiving a player back in pair of separate trades.

Lucas Bourdon, a 2003-born defender from B.C. will now be playing for the Grande Prarie Storm of the AJHL. The Nighthawks received a player development fee in return. Bourdon appeared in 15 games for Niverville, picking up an assist.

In a separate deal, the Nighthawks coincidentally picked up a player who played his minor hockey in the Grande Prarie system in 2002-born forward Ethan Whillans. Whillans has spent the last two seasons with the Weyburn Red Wings of the SJHL, with this season being his best junior A season of his career from a points perspective.

“(Whillans is a) really good fit for us, he’s a big body who skates well and he’s fine playing in any situation,” Niverville general manager and head coach Kelvin Cech said.

“He’s fired up to get to Niverville and contribute to our group.”

The Nighthawks sent a player development fee and future considerations to Weyburn in exchange for the player.

Whillans won’t just bring solid play to the Niverville community, but a great presence as well. He won the Red Wings award for outstanding community service in 2022, playing alongside current Steinbach Piston Kirk Mullen, who was named the team’s top rookie that year.

The CJHL inter-league trade deadline is at 7:00 p.m. central time each year on Jan. 10, with the MJHL’s trade deadline set for midnight the same day.

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