The Bonnyville Pontiacs have dealt captain Matt McKim and defenceman Alex Marrocco to the Valley Wildcats.
Each player was traded for future considerations last week and the moves are believed to be prompted because of trade requests.
The Valley Wildcats play in the Maritime Junior A Hockey League in Nova Scotia.
According to coach and general manager Rick Swan, McKim, who hails from St. John’s, Newfoundland, wanted to be closer to home during the pandemic.
The Pontiacs last played on November 21 against the Whitecourt Wolverines, winning 3-2 in overtime.
Marrocco, a 20-year-old defender who had 19 points last season, had asked for a trade following that game because he was a health scratch, Swan said.
The Pontiacs then worked a deal to have the players finish out their junior careers together.
“We talked about this year about the importance of accountability and him and Corpsy [Colt Corpse] he came out that last game. We felt this to 20 year olds, they needed to be more of an impact. And Marrocco was minus-three for the night,” sais Swan.
“We knew Matt [McKim] was going out there and we just gave him a call and said, ‘would you consider finishing off your 20-year-old year with Matt as your roommate on the same team?’ And he said ‘yeah, I’d do that in a heartbeat, he’s my best friend.’ So we were able to package them up in a deal,” he said.
“We get an opportunity to take care of those guys and at the same time give more opportunities to the guys in our lineup that we can use in a development season and help their growth.”
Return to Play
The AJHL is working with the chief medical officer’s staff on a framework to Return to Play, which could provide them an exemption for game play this season.
That will likely involve more stringent health protocols for teams to follow than during the initial launch of the 2020-21 AJHL season in September and private COVID testing.
The league is also considering extending the season if necessary into late May.
There is no date for when an announcement of the season resuming will happen as of yet.