Leafs shuffle deck chairs as Junior clubs set rosters for playoff run
However, Dooley said both Smith and Novin would have been back in the lineup after Christmas. Novin, of course, was traded to Comox Valley of the Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League.Nelson has also signed 6’3″ forward Cleary Ambrose from Kamloops Storm.”He came and skated with us prior to Christmas and he is a big skilled center,” Dooley said.”He’s a young player so we look forward to developing him in our lineup.”Ambrose came to the KIJHL from the San Diego Gulls of the Eastern Junior Elite Prospects League.The EJEPL was created to prepare players to become the Junior, Prep School and College recruits of the future. The EJEPL website said many of the owners of top Junior programs, top Prep School programs and AAA Youth orgainzations regularly scout the EJEPL and it’s (68) partner organizations.Players will be exposed NCAA style practices–including systems, plays, skill development, off-ice training techniques, and most importantly–academic guidance.Dooley said Saturday’s game against Beaver Valley, the Leafs were guilty of a poor start and taking too many penalties, which cost them as the Hawks jumped all over the Green and White in the opening period.”I felt bad for Kurt Doyle, we didn’t play to our ability in the first period and let him down,” Dooley explained. “We talked to the team after the first period and focused on a positive solution going forward.”The last two periods we out scored the Hawks 3-2 but that first period out us to far back. We’re excited to get back to practice and keep working on our new systems.”The team is very positive and we get better every time we’re on the ice.”Ambrose, 18, is expected to join the Leafs when the Heritage City club begins a three games in three-night stint starting Thursday at home to Grand Forks Border Bruins.Friday, Nelson travels to Fernie to face the Ghostriders before returning home to meet defending KIJHL champion Kimberley Dynamiters. Fresh on the heels of a 7-3 Kootenay International Junior Hockey League pasting Saturday night in Fruitvale to the Murdoch Division leading Beaver Valley Nitehawks, the Nelson Leafs made a few changes prior to the BC Hockey roster deadline of January 10.The Nelson Leafs announced the team has released goalie Zak Babin and reinstated forward/defenceman Brendan Smith to the roster.Babin was acquired from the Princeton Posse in early December in a cash deal.The 6’4″ Babin was on the roster for only four games with Nelson.To replace Babin, Nelson acquired Josh Williams a Junior A goalie from the Bonnyville Pontiacs of the Alberta Junior Hockey League.”Josh came highly recommended to us and we are really excited about picking him up,” said Leaf assistant coach Sean Dooley.Meanwhile Smith returns to the Leafs after being shown the door by former coach Dave McLellan in December.Smith, 20, was released along with center Nick Novin.At the time of the decision, McLellan wouldn’t get into specifics, saying there were “off-ice issues” that led to the departure of the two players.