Nine games down and the Vernon Vipers are slowly developing a template for success in the toughest division in the B.C. Hockey League.
And with the 13th-worst powerplay – 5-for-41 – they made a major move Tuesday by trading for Jared Wilson of the Alberni Valley Bulldogs, the league’s leading rookie defenceman last year with 10 goals and 33 points. The Calgary product has three goals and eight points this season and has a scholarship with the RPI Engineers for 2014-15
The Vipers gave up 18-year-old centre Craig Martin and future considerations. Martin, of Trail, racked up seven goals and 16 points last season and has three goals and seven points this year. He has a scholarship with the Quinnipiac Bobcats.
“I’m real excited,” Wilson told The Morning Star. “My coach (Kevin Willison) called me this morning and at first, it was a shock, but I’m excited about playing in the RBC with Vernon.”
Wilson, who played lacrosse in his early teens, patrolled the back line for the Calgary Royals in Midget hockey, netting a dozen goals and 32 points his final campaign.
“I like to think of myself as a solid two-way guy. Obviously, I’m more offensive minded, but I can play in all situations.”
Wilson, a bogey golfer, is already fairly close with Dexter Dancs, Riley Guenther, Austin Smith and Michael McNicholas of the Vipers. He is 6-foot-1, 180 pounds.
“He’s a little bit of a puck mover and very good offensively,” said Vipers’ head coach/GM Jason Williamson. “He will definitely help our powerplay. When you go 0-for-7 in games, it’s not good.”
Martin’s departure will likely mean second-year centre TJ Dumonceaux will move up to the third line.
“It was a tough one, but you have to give up something good to get something good,” added Williamson. “They needed forwards and they asked for him.”
The Bulldogs, who got Vernon product Harlan Orr in a deal with the Salmon Arm SilverBacks are off to a 1-7-1 start after losing their three top scorers to the USHL.