Forward Johnny Wesley (#8)

Wesley opts not to report to Ice; deal with Hurricanes voided

After initially indicating he would report to WHL's Kootenay Ice, F Johnny Wesley opts to remain with BCHL's Surrey Eagles

The Kootenay Ice just can’t catch a break.

His club riddled with injuries, general manager Jeff Chynoweth thought he had found a way to help bolster his squad Thursday afternoon with the acquisition of 18-year-old forward Johnny Wesley from the Lethbridge Hurricanes.

As puck dropped between the Hurricanes and Ice at the Enmax Centre in Lethbridge Thursday, Chynoweth found out otherwise.

After initially suggesting he was set to report for practice in Cranbrook Friday, Wesley had a change of heart over the course of the afternoon, informing Chynoweth that, along with his status as captain of the Surrey Eagles, he decided it best for his development remain in the British Columbia Hockey League.

Originally, the transaction saw Wesley acquired by the Ice in exchange for a seventh-round pick in the 2018 WHL Bantam Draft. With Wesley refusing to report to the Ice, the deal has since been voided.

While Wesley — a native of White Rock, B.C. — has had a successful start to the 2015-16 BCHL season, tallying 11 goals and 20 points in 18 games, the same can’t be said for his Eagles.

As of Thursday night, the Eagles rank as the worst team in the BCHL with a record of 5-21-0-0.

Th 6-foot, 197-pound Wesley landed with the Eagles on Sept. 21 after being re-assigned to the BCHL from the WHL’s Hurricanes.

During the 2014-15 season, Wesley spent 31 games with the Hurricanes, tallying five goals and 10 points.

With Wesley opting not to report to Cranbrook, the Kootenay Ice remain short-handed heading into the weekend.

After the initial acquisition of Wesley, Chynoweth said he was still in search of more help and understandably so with Luke Philp (ankle), Jaedon Descheneau (shoulder), Shane Allan (four-game suspension), Zak Zborosky (lower body) and River Beattie all unavailable for Thursday’s tilt in Lethbridge.

“We’re looking at every option available to us,” Chynoweth said prior to arriving in Lethbridge. “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.

“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, the Ice faced the Red Deer Rebels short two skaters as they dressed nine regular forwards with defenceman Bryan Allbee serving as a makeshift 10th man up front.

Following Thursday’s game in Lethbridge, the Ice return home to host the Hurricanes Saturday (7 p.m.) at Western Financial Place.

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