Matt Rogers – shown here with Semiahmoo Minor Hockey player Brady Cyr before a game in November – was named captain of the White Rock Whalers this month. (Jody Harris photo)

Busy Whalers make two trades, name captain

White Rock junior ‘B’ hockey team makes off-ice moves prior to trade deadline

The last week has been a busy one for White Rock Whalers brass, as the first-year junior ‘B’ hockey squad made a handful of off-ice moves.

Last week, prior to the Canada-wide junior-hockey trade deadline, the Whalers dealt away 20-year-old defenceman Erik Bocale to the Pacific Junior Hockey League rival Grandview Steelers in exchange for future considerations.

Bocale, a Surrey native, had one goal and four assists in 15 games with the Whalers this season. He was the Whalers’ first-ever official player, after being acquired in the summer from the Kootenay Junior Hockey League’s Beaver Valley Nighthawks.

He is in his final year of junior-hockey eligibility and will now have the opportunity to chase a PJHL title with the Steelers, who sit fifth in the league and are firmly in a playoff position.

The Whalers, meanwhile, sit ninth overall and are aiming for the league’s eighth and final playoff spot. They are currently nine points back of the Aldergrove Kodiaks for that last postseason berth.

The Whalers made a second move prior to the Jan. 10 trade deadline, too, acquiring goaltender Evan McCune from the Richmond Sockeyes in exchange for future considerations.

The 18-year-old netminder will join Zach Everett and Jonathan Holloway in the Whalers’ net, and provide injury insurance in the crease. During the PJHL Winter Classic event earlier this month, Holloway left a game against Port Moody early due to injury.

With the trade deadline passed and the team’s roster finalized, the Whalers also last week appointed their first captain – forward Matthew Rogers.

Prior to Rogers’ appointment, the team had been playing with a handful of alternate captains, of which Rogers was one.

“On and off the ice Matt shows the importance of having a great leader and someone to set the bar for the team. He has brought maturity, poise, and a calmness to the locker room,” the team stated in a news release.

Rogers is tied with Calder Newson for the team points lead. He has eight goals and 20 assists in 35 games.

He also recently represented the Whalers at the PJHL all-star game, which was held Jan. 14.

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