Friday, November 23, 2012 –The Canmore Eagles shuffled their lineup late Thursday afternoon as they traded third-year forward Connor Hoekstra to the Spruce Grove Saints in exchange for forward Bryan Arneson and defenceman Mattia Bortolotto. All players involved were 19 years of age.
In a separate move, Canmore also acquired 19-year-old left winger Austen Hebert from the Flin Flon Bombers of the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League for future considerations.
“It was a difficult decision to have to part with Connor, but we needed to add a defenceman to our club following the recent injury to Nikolas Kosman,” said Eagle’s Head Coach and General Manager Andrew Milne. “Kosman will probably be out of the lineup for up to eight weeks so we needed to address that. We think we landed two pretty good players from Spruce Grove, but in order to get them, we had to part with a quality player as well. Connor was a great Eagle, a model citizen of Canmore, and we wish him the best of luck in the Spruce Grove organization.”
Hoekstra, who resides in Saint Albert, won a gold medal for Team Canada West at the World Junior A championships last winter and played a total of 132 games in an Eagle uniform recording 24 goals and 28 assists. In 22 games played this season, he had seven goals and three assists.
Arneson, a 5’11 180 lb Sherwood Park native, has six goals and nine assists in 26 games split between the Calgary Mustangs and Spruce Grove Saints this season. In his 55 games played as a Mustang last year, he also accumulated 148 penalty minutes.
Bortolotto, a 5’8 190 lb California native, has recorded two goals and four assists in 25 games as a Saint this season.
Hebert, a 6’0 190 lb Sherwood Park native, spent the past two seasons playing with the Bonnyville Pontiacs before heading off to Flin Flon this fall. Hebert had three goals and five assists with the Pontiacs in 48 games last season.
“The addition of Arneson and Hebert should give us a little more grit up front because they both like to play a physical, in-your face style of hockey,” said Milne. “Bortolotto is a very versatile defenceman who plays in all situations at the back end.
Milne expects to have Arneson in his lineup for tonight’s game against Camrose and hopes to have Hebert here in time for Saturday’s second game against Camrose.
Bortolotto had travelled back to California to visit his family as the Saints were enjoying a six day break in the schedule. He is expected to make it to Canmore early next week.