I was just about to head to bed when my Twitter feed was rocked by this huge trade between the newly renamed West Kelowna Warriors and the Victoria Grizzlies. It’s the second trade this week by new Grizzlies head coach and GM Bill Bestwick.
The deal sees a goaltender go each way and a couple of very promising players – one a forward and one a defenceman. The Warriors acquire D Braxton Bilous (94) and G Garrett Rockafellow (93) for G Brady Rouleau (93) and F Garrett Skrbich (93).
I’ll be honest, I’m not quite sure what to make of this move, it’s really one that I feel could pay big dividends for both teams – a true hockey trade. Victoria was looking to shore up its goaltending and it definitely does so with the addition of Rouleau while West Kelowna needed further depth on defence, which they grab in Bilous, who is a real blue chipper. Skrbich is no slouch either, as he’s already committed to Princeton University for the 2013-14 season.
To West Kelowna Warriors:
D Braxton Bilous (94)
G Garrett Rockafellow (93)
To Victoria Grizzlies:
G Brady Rouleau (93)
F Garrett Skrbich (93)
Here’s the official release from the Warriors website:
The West Kelowna Warriors completed a 4 player swap with the Victoria Grizzlies today.
Coming to the Warriors is a solid goaltender Coach Ferster is familiar with, and a blue-chip defenseman already committed to the NCAA.
The Warriors receive netminder Garrett Rockafellow (’93), and defenseman Braxton Bilous (’94).
While the Grizzlies get goaltender Brady Rouleau (’93), and forward Garrett Skrbich (’93).
Rockafellow posted a 5-15 record in his only season with the Grizzlies last year, but was on the third worst team in the BCHL. Ferster recently took Rockafellow, along with Warriors goalie Tyler Briggs, to Sweden for some exhibition games and is very familiar with him.
“Garrett Rockafellow is a goalie that is the ultimate competitor,” says Warriors Head Coach/GM Rylan Ferster. “He battles every time he steps on the ice. I had the pleasure of coaching him a few years back, and just recently as well. He and Tyler will be nice additions to the crease.”
The 6-foot, 192 pound native of Crossfield, Alberta says he’s eager to join his new squad. “I’m extremely excited to join such a well respected franchise,” said Rockafellow. “I’m just going to work as hard as humanly possible, compete every night, and try my best to fit in with the guys.”
Bilous is 6-foot-2, 192 pounds, and from Langley. He is already committed to Merrimack (NCAA Div.1) where he’ll walk in the footsteps of many former Warriors. (Kyle Singleton, Brendan Ellis, Quinn Gould, and Izaak Berglund)
“In acquiring Braxton Bilous we get a defense man with 90 games experience in the BCHL,” says Ferster. “He can play in all situations and really solidifies our defense core now. He is already committed which is great. Players like him are very hard to acquire.”
Braxton had 3 goals, 13 assists, and 54 penalty minutes in 53 regular season games last year.
Bilous joins a returning West-K defense core that includes: Assistant Captain Josh Monk, Dustin Cave, Adam Plant (Harvard ’14), and Matthew Berry-Lamontagna.
Meanwhile, Rouleau never played a game for the Warriors after being acquired in the offseason. He was the “futures” in the Richard Vanderhoek trade to Cowichan for David Pope during the regular season.
Rouleau had solid numbers last year with a 12-8 record, a 2.81GAA, and a .905SV%.
Garrett Skrbich is the second player headed to the island.
The 6-foot forward from Minnesota played 50 games for the Warriors registering 7 goals, and 5 assists.