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Kings busy on trade front, a change made with MJHL draft

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While the Manitoba Junior Hockey League has shut down for this season, other junior A leagues across the country are either on the ice playing or planning to be.
So MJHL teams have been busy on the trade front, looking for a place for players to continue their careers and Dauphin Kings head coach and general manager Doug Hedley began looking to move his older players when the season was cancelled.
Forward Vincent Nardone was shipped to the Carleton Place Canadians of the Central Canada Hockey League for futures, while Parker Malchuk was sent on loan to the Edmundston Blizzard of the Maritime Hockey League.
If the British Columbia Hockey League resumes it season, defenceman Layne Toder will join the Cowichan Valley Capitals.
Defenseman Colby Jaquet was originally sent to the Lloydminster Bobcats of the Alberta Junior Hockey League, but that deal fell through when the Bobcats were denied participation in the AJHL’s Return to Play Plan due to the public health restrictions of the Saskatchewan Government.
A deal to send Nakodan Greyeyes to the Humboldt Broncos of the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League also fell through at the last minute. Charles Massey could end up in the MHL, as well. Hedley noted his hometown is close to Edmundston, where Malchuk was traded to.
Hedley reported Grady Hobbs was not interested in moving to another team and he could not find a team for Braeden Young.
Mar. 7 is the deadline for teams to sign players.
The team’s board of directors is still looking at its options when it comes to solving the issue surrounding season ticket holders.
Regarding sponsors, several have already jumped on board with their support for next season.
“Sponsors have been really good so far. Just from the Dauphin Kings perspective, there’s been a lot of great local business support. I talked to about 80 per cent of local sponsors and they’ve been really understanding with our situation and the situation overall,” said Kings director of business operations and marketing Christian Laughland.
“It’s been almost a year now since COVID-19 started and sponsors obviously want the Dauphin Kings to be around for a long time. And it’s great to see the sponsors are getting on the bandwagon and committing to next season, which we hope will start in September.”
The MJHL recently changed its draft rules moving from a U16 draft to U17, selecting 16-year-old players.
As a result, there will be no draft this year. The next draft will be held in the spring of 2022.
Hedley noted the Western Hockey League will hold their bantam draft in December of this year.
“We’ll be watching triple A leagues a lot more than bantam just because we’ll be looking at 15-year-olds playing their first year of triple A,” Hedley said, adding he believes there will be a larger percentage of players playing for the team that drafted them the following season.
“Your top draft picks, literally, could come in after their first year (in triple A) as a legitimate 17-year-old,” he said.
Hedley feels the league will benefit from the change.
“It just gives you a better chance of getting the best players. You’re going to see a kid that’s either going to play in the Western League or play junior A,” he said, adding 16-year-olds could play in the MJHL the year they are drafted, as long as they have a top six forward or top four defenceman role.
“Our high draft picks should have a real good chance of playing for our hockey clubs and in the league,” he said.
The MJHL will also host its fifth annual prospects development camp, July 14 to 18 in Winnipeg.
Hedley plans to submit a list of 2004s and 2005s to attend the camp. Each team, he said, sends in a list of 10 players, six to attend the camp and four alternates. If a player is unable to attend, an alternate is select to attend instead.
“It’s a good experience. They find out about the league. They get some good skill instruction and have some competitive games. We’ll probably do a cross section of our best kids and get them in there to give them a shot,” he said.

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Doug Zywina
REPORTER
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