The Carleton Place Canadians were very active in the week leading up to the trade deadline, which came and went on January 10th.
They sit in sixth place in the log-jammed league standings and second in the Robinson Division with 40 points after 36 games. They’re aiming to create a wider gap between the teams behind them as playoffs approach.
Coming to the club are a pair of forwards and defencemen.
Seamus Lockhart was the first addition. The ’05 defenceman from Kanata was acquired January 4th from the Nepean Raiders and already has a couple of games and an assist under his belt.
Lockhart spent 2022-23 with the EOJHL Carleton Place Jr. Canadians, so Owner, General Manager and Head Coach Brent Sullivan is already familiar with what he brings to the table. He likes his competiveness and style of play, and bringing him back into the organization gives them a player to bolster their backend not only this year, but also in the future.
Sullivan then went hunting out west, with the remaining additions all coming from the Manitoba Junior Hockey League in exchange for player development fees.
One of those new faces is that of ’03 defenceman Guerin Apperley. Listed as 6’5 and 220lbs, he brings a type of size the blue line hasn’t had up to this point.
“He’s a leader, he’s an alpha. He’s going to come in and have a presence right away,” Sullivan said of Apperley.
He says despite his large frame, Apperley’s very mobile and is coming in with experience playing top four minutes and will go to battle for his teammates. He racked up 72 penalty minutes across 32 games for the Waywayseecappo Wolverines this season.
Adding more grit and physicality to the roster was a must in the eyes of Sullivan after seeing them get knocked around during playoffs last year and through the first half of this season at times.
“After coming back and watching those (first few games), and just remembering the first round matchup last year against Smiths Falls, I felt it was a need,” later adding “We want to be a team that feels suffocating to play against, and I think we’ve done that with the additions.”
Up front, Kyle Kudrna’s playing on the wing and Blake Boudreau will be down the middle.
Kudrna has 13 points across 30 games this season which has been split in the NAHL and MJHL.
Sullivan says the ’03 Bartlett, Illinois product brings a lot to the Canadians.
“That guy plays with pace but man, he is hard, he is heavy, and that’s been our mentality.” Sullivan also complimented his quick release and how tough he is to defend.
Sullivan also thinks highly of Boudreau’s game, another ’03 that posted 16 points in 25 games for the Dauphin Kings prior to the trade.
“(He’s) creative, fast, he can skate. He’s going to be on top of you.” Sullivan says he’s a high end skilled forward that compliments the existing talent on the club, and plays with confidence and swagger.
Sullivan plans to use both Kudrna and Boudreau in the top six which will help them roll out all four lines.
Of course, additions also means subtractions. The Canadians shipped out Shayne Bjorn (Montreal Phoenix), Marcus Krats (Brockville Braves), Jackson Pundyk (Red Lake Miners), and Owen Colter (Nepean Raiders).
“It’s never easy moving bodies out, but we needed to get better,” Sullivan said of the moves.
“We’ve played well as of late but feel the additions we have made including (Aidan) Feddema and (Lleyton) McLean earlier on gives us some age, size, experience, depth, physicality, and speed,” he added.
With 20 games to go, Sullivan feels he’s done all he can to put the Canadians in the best position possible.
“I wanted to give our guys the best opportunity to win, and I feel we checked those boxes. So now it’s time to play.”
Story by Grant Deme