lloydminster bobcats action 3

Bobcats make final moves before deadline

RBC Cup hosts focus on chemistry building heading into last third of season

Andrew Brethauer – Lloydminster Source
January 13, 2016

The Lloydminster Bobcats added leadership and experience prior to the Canadian Junior Hockey League’s Jan. 10 trade deadline, as they made three deals before the 10 p.m. cutoff, ending what was a busy year on the trade market for the RBC Cup hosts.

The weekend may have started with the deal for Eric Benshadle, which saw the Bobcats third-leading scorer Taylor Allan dealt to Chilliwack of the British Columbia Hockey League, but the stressful weekend of trading was centred around Drumheller Dragons’ forward Ryan Chynoweth.

Heavy talks with the Dragons led to a deal being made, but Lloydminster, with six 20-year-old players on its roster, needed to make room for the incoming Chynoweth first, so Allan was traded in order to free up a spot. The Bobcats then sent forward Evan Tschumi on Sunday to Drumheller, keeping him out of the afternoon game against Spruce Grove, to finalize the deal for Chynoweth.

“We went into the deadline looking for leadership and we felt he was a character kid,” said Bobcats coach and general manager Gord Thibodeau. “We knew we were going to have to move a 20-year-old forward. And as tough as it was and as good as Taylor has played, we just felt Ryan brought us the same type of offence with a bit more physical presence.

“It was one of those deals where you have to make a deal for the present and unfortunately it hurts in the future. You have to do what is best for this year’s team.”

In return for Allan, Lloydminster got 19-year-old forward Benshadle, who the Bobcats had a few looks at as he played on the same Midget team as current Bobcats defenceman Nick Quillan. With a strong shot and physical presence, Benshadle adds to the short list of forwards the Bobcats had and was in the line-up on Sunday.

Lloydminster also added defenceman Griffin Mumby from the Canmore Eagles for future considerations, adding to a defensive core that hasn’t played top-level hockey in the past few months and needed new life. Mumby was the alternate captain of the Canada West team at the World Junior A Challenge last season, while he also played two seasons in the Western Hockey League with the Regina Pats.

With the addition of three players and the loss of two, Lloydminster is still one player short of their 23 man roster. Thibodeau said he made calls to nearly every team in western Canada looking to add another forward, but players were not available in what was a quiet trade deadline.

Now the focus is on team chemistry and preparing the team for the last third of the regular season, the playoffs and eventually the RBC Cup. This much change was a major concern to Thibodeau from the beginning of the season, as it would break a lot of friendships and require a lot of adjustment in the line-up.

“We have a way different group than we anticipated at the start for various reasons and now it’s about getting that chemistry right and team bonding,” said Thibodeau. “That is our biggest fault right now because that deadline has been hanging over us. And you also need to get the buy-in. We have three to four players who need to buy in right now or get lost. We can’t be worried about individual points, we have to be worried about team success.”

While the pressure of the trade deadline off the players backs, the spotlight still won’t leave the Bobcats for the rest of the season. Never before has Lloydminster had this kind of pressure on them according to Thibodeau, as Lloydminster has never played for a national championship or league title. But in five months it will start the RBC Cup tournament, and all questions will turn from who plays in the tournament, to can the Bobcats win the tournament.

“This team has the ability to do that,” said Thibodeau. “This team needs to come together and put aside individual things and sacrifice for the good of the group. If they do that, do I think they can win this thing? Absolutely.”

For more information:

Esther Madziya
Manager, Communications
Hockey Canada

(403) 284-6484 

Spencer Sharkey
Manager, Communications
Hockey Canada

(403) 777-4567

Jeremy Knight
Manager, Corporate Communications
Hockey Canada

(647) 251-9738

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