With days to go before the Neely Cup to set things off for the preseason and then the regular season a few weeks after, the Portland Winterhawks said goodbye to two scouts, added five others, and made a trade with the Swift Current Broncos.
The Hawks had four players aged 20, so reducing to three took a lot of work. In the end, Portland made a deal that sent Ryan McCleary and five draft picks, including conditional picks, to the Broncos, in exchange. Swift Current parted with players Josh Davies, 19, and Tyson Yaremko, 18. Davies was a sixth-round selection of the Florida Panthers in 2022. Both players are forwards, adding to the firepower of the Hawks, who were a heavy offensive threat last season. The Picks are the 2024 conditional 4th round pick, conditional sixth round in 2025, three picks in 2027, a sixth round, and conditional picks in the second and fifth rounds.
The deal adds strength to an impressive forward line that mostly remains intact and, for many, solidifies the belief that the Hawks are poised to be atop the US Division.
The Hawks saw two of their scouts leave the organization. Brad Davis, 16 years in Manitoba, and Ray Payne, six years in BC, are leaving the club. The holes will be filled soon, but the wealth of experience takes time to follow.
Portland then added five scouts to its ranks, including two former players from the team. William Wrenn left University hockey for the Hawks on his final season before a short professional career doing the duties in Alaska. Alex Overhardt, whose father is an Agent for many NHL players, comes on in Colorado. Overhardt wasn’t drafted and was ineligible to play hockey at a US University due to his playing in the WHL, which adds to a strong scouting staff. Added also are Josh Bonar in the Okanagan and Rijay Berra in Prince George. Ed Fowler rounds out BC in Surrey.
In news from around the CHL, Gregg Drinnan reports fans will see new people atop the Commissioner ranks in two leagues of the CHL. The QMJHL already switched its Commissioner last season. The other two, Ron Robison, Commissioner for the past 24 years, and David Branch, Commissioner of the OHL for an incredible 45 years, will be replaced over the next couple of years. Robison will leave at the end of the 2025 season and Branch in 2024. Going forward, the leagues will have fresh faces at the top as they move into developing future crops of players for the NHL.