OLDS — The Olds Grizzlys made a flurry of trades on Jan. 10, the Canadian Junior Hockey League’s trade deadline.
They traded captain Liam Hughes, 20, to the Fort McMurray Oil Barons for future considerations and assistant captain Tanner Klimpke, 20, to the Whitecourt Wolverines, also for future considerations.
Also on that day, the team acquired 18-year-old forward Parker Konneke from Virden of the Manitoba Junior Hockey League and defenceman Jacob Dewitt from Kindersley of the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League for future considerations in each case.
According to the Elite Prospects website, Hughes, a centre, scored eight goals and picked up 16 assists for 24 points in 40 games for the Grizzlys this season. He spent 56 minutes in the penalty box.
Klimpke, a forward, scored 23 goals and picked up 16 assists for 39 points in 38 games for the Grizzlys this season. He spent 66 minutes in the sin bin.
According Elite Prospects, Konneke, 18, stands 6’2” and weighs 185 pounds and shoots right. He was born in West Kelowna, B.C.
Konneke scored two goals and picked up four assists for six points in 19 games with the Virden Oil Capitals this season.
During the 2021-22 season, he scored 19 goals and obtained 24 assists for 43 points in 40 games with the Summerland Steam of the Junior B-level Kootenay International Junior Hockey League.
He spent 30 minutes in the penalty box.
In the playoffs that season, Konneke scored six goals and racked up four assists in nine games.
During the 2019-2020 season in the U17 B.C. Elite Hockey League with the Okanagan Rockets U16AAA squad, Konneke scored seven goals and added 10 assists for 17 points in 32 games.
In two playoff games that season, he picked up one assist.
Dewitt, 18, was born in Sicamous, B.C. He is 6’4” and weighs 190 pounds.
As a defenceman, Dewitt has not been an offensive threat.
According to Elite Prospects, the left-handed shot played 17 games for the Kindersley Klippers this season.
During that time, didn’t score any goals or pick up any assists. He was assessed 24 penalty minutes.
Before that, over the past couple of seasons, Dewitt played for the Regina Pats of the Western Hockey League, the Merritt Centennials of the junior A level B.C. Junior Hockey League and then back up briefly (three games) with the Pats again.
His greatest offensive production occurred during his season with the Centennials, when he scored two goals and obtained eight assists for a total of 10 points in 43 games. He was assessed 20 penalty minutes.
Grizzlys head Coach and general manager Scott Atkinson said the trades were spurred by the fact that Hughes and Klimpke indicated a desire to play somewhere else.
Atkinson noted that not only did the team manage to honour that request, but also filled those two roster spots plus obtained future considerations.
"We actually used one of the spots to add another defenceman, so we now have seven defencemen and we felt that we needed that, going down through the last part of the season here,” he said.
Atkinson said he knew Dewitt from his days as head coach of the Salmon Arm Silverbacks.
“We think that he’s a D-man that can help us continue to solidify our defensive approach to the game,” Atkinson said.
“But he can move the puck. He’s got good skill, too. He’s not a high goal scorer or a high point producer, but he’s a guy that can contribute. He’s big and aggressive. He’s big and kind of plays hard.”
Atkinson said Konneke fits into the kind of team that management wants to build in Olds.
“He’s got pretty good skill,” he said. “He (has) similar stature and similar approach to some of the players we’ve got that we think are playing very well for us, like Cade Moxham and Greye Rampton.
“He’s a long, tall guy; a centre that’s 6’2-plus, and that’s kind of how we’re building the team.”