Call in the reinforcements.
The battered and bruised Kootenay Ice added a healthy body to the roster Thursday afternoon, acquiring 18-year-old forward Johnny Wesley from the Lethbridge Hurricanes in exchange for a seventh-round pick in the 2018 WHL Bantam Draft.
“He’s an older player with WHL experience and he really was hungry to get back to our league,” said Jeff Chynoweth, president and general manager of the Kootenay Ice, Thursday afternoon. “When he was let go from Lethbridge, it was well known that he wanted to have another opportunity. Sometimes you have to wait for that opportunity, but with all our injuries we’re in a situation here where it’s a perfect fit for us.
“It’s an opportunity for him to come in, play and fill a role for us.”
Wesley, a native of White Rock, B.C., joins the Ice from the Surrey Eagles of the British Columbia Hockey League, where he had posted 11 goals and 20 points in 18 games this season.
He won’t be available for the Ice when they visit the Lethbridge Hurricanes Thursday night (7 p.m.) but is expected to be in Cranbrook in time for practice Friday and will be available to suit up Saturday night when the Ice host the Hurricanes at Western Financial Place (7 p.m.).
In 33 career WHL games split between the Vancouver Giants and Hurricanes, 6-foot, 197-pound forward has tallied six goals and 11 points, along with 19 minutes in penalties.
Wesley spent the 2014-15 WHL campaign in Lethbridge, suiting up for 31 games with the Hurricanes while registering career highs in goals (five) and points (10).
The Hurricanes re-assigned Wesley to the Eagles back on Sept. 21 and the White Rock native went on to serve as captain of the local Junior ‘A’ squad.
With seven regular skaters out of the lineup, including forwards Luke Philp (ankle), Jaedon Descheneau (shoulder), Shane Allan (four-game suspension), Zak Zborosky (lower body) and River Beattie (head), Wesley will have an immediate opportunity to contribute for his new club.
“We’re looking at every option available to us,” Chynoweth said in regards to further addressing the black-and-blue state of his hockey club. “We don’t want to pay too much because we’re trying to recoup some draft picks. We’ve got to be careful about that [when looking] for a stop gap.
“We’re looking at players, not only in our league and on other team’s lists, but also players that are playing Junior ‘A’.”
Wednesday night, the Ice faced the Red Deer Rebels short two skaters as they dressed nine regular forwards with defenceman Bryan Allbee serving as the makeshift 10th man up front.
The Ice visit Lethbridge Thursday at 7 p.m. before returning home to host the Hurricanes Saturday at Western Financial Place (7 p.m.).