The Powell River Kings have acquired 1995-born forward Kurt Keats from the Winnipeg Blues in the Manitoba Junior Hockey League. In exchange, the Kings send Jordan Paddock (93-D), Matt Dupont (93-F), Landon Robin (94-F) and future considerations to the Blues.
Keats, from Winnipeg, has played for the Blues the last two years, playing in 106 games, scoring 25 times and adding 71 assists. He also suited up for Team Canada West at the World Junior A Challenge in Nova Scotia in 2012, where he played 4 games and scored 1 goal on route to a silver medal. In Powell River, he will be reunited with his Canada West teammates Luke Ripley and Jonah Imoo.
"It was the experience of a lifetime (playing at the WJAC)" says Keats. The 5'8, 170lb forward who was also a part of Team West for the World Under 17 Championships in 2011/2012 considers himself a setup man.
"I'd say I'm a playmaker, I like to work the puck down low and cycle the puck" says Keats. His near point-per-game performance has been consistant throughout his entire career, and is something he's hoping to continue with in Powell River. "Hopefully it translates over, obviously looking to have a good year and put up some good numbers for the Kings."
The trade came at a high cost for the Kings, who gave up experience, with a pair of 20 year olds heading east, in addition to the 19-year old Robin.
"This was a very difficult decision to make" says Kings Head Coach and GM Kent Lewis. "We are losing some great kids who gave a lot to our organization. However, we felt that we needed to fill a void at the center position and we feel Kurt is exactly the type of player we wanted to add. We would like to welcome Kurt to our orgainzation and are looking forward to his arrival to Powell River."
Keats will make the trip from Winnipeg to Powell River in the coming days, likely in time for exhibition games on the lower mainland during the Labour Day long weekend. He's looking forward to getting settled in a new town for the first time.
"All the guys I've talked to about the Kings just had so many good things to say about the town and the team, they're always a competitive team, always in the playoff hunt and definately a place I want to be."
The Kings would like to thank Jordan, Matt and Landon for all of their work both on and off the ice during their time in Powell River.
(Nathan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)