WESTVILLE ROAD – The Junior A Crushers have traded arguably their two best players, sending Jacob Hickey and Dylan Riley to the Summerside Western Capitals in a stunning deal.
The Maritime Hockey League club also sent a seventh-round pick in 2019 and an eighth-round pick in 2020 to Summerside for Sam Meisemheimer, Cal MacPherson, third round picks in 2019 and 2020 and future considerations.
Crushers general manager Chad McDavid said Riley had requested a trade to a serious contender and ultimately, Hickey was also sent to P.E.I.
“Dylan has been a very good player for since we drafted him,” said McDavid. “He’s got an opportunity to compete for a championship in Summerside.”
He added that MacPherson, an 18-year-old centre, “was the key piece for us in the deal. I know how fans are going to react but at the end of the day, we made (the trade) in the best interests of our organization moving forward, this season and next season and the season after. It wasn’t easy.”
Hickey said in an interview Thursday that he didn’t see a trade coming.
“It’s emotional to be leaving Pictou County after four years there, but I’m excited to be going to a contender,” he said.
Hickey, a Crushers’ co-captain with Evan MacLennan this season, was drafted in 2015. He spent the second half of his rookie year playing with the Blainville-Boisbriand Armada of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, and the past season and a half back in Pictou County.
After a slow start to their respective seasons, Hickey and Riley both played big roles in the Crushers’ rising fortunes since Dec. 1: the team has won six straight (and eight out of nine), and both Hickey and Riley each had eight goals and eight assists in their final eight games with Pictou County.
Meisemheimer had 27 points (9G, 18A) in 23 games this season for Summerside. MacPherson is an 18-year centre with 15 points (1G, 14A) for Summerside this season.
Pictou County has an opportunity to get their seventh straight win on Thursday against the Yarmouth Mariners (7 p.m. at the Pictou County Wellness Centre), but it won’t be easy. Yarmouth is 4-0 against Pictou County this season, has outscored the Crushers 16-5 in those games and are starting to take control of first place in the Maritime Hockey League’s South Division.
The Crushers elevated their win streak to six games on Jan. 3 with a 7-4 win on home ice over the Amherst Ramblers.
Barrett Dachyshyn and Riley each had two goals for the Crushers, while also finding the net were Hickey, Evan Gallant, and newcomer Chase Ellis, in the 16-year-old’s first game as a Crusher.