Former Axemen Delaney to play for Allan Cup host

Caribous shuffle the deck

Clarenville trades for Ryan and Keith Delaney

The Clarenville Caribous bolstered their roster ahead of hosting the 2015 Allan Cup in a big way last week, landing reigning Herder champions Keith and Ryan Delaney from the Eastlink CeeBees Stars via a trade. keithdelaney

© Chris Ballard photo

Keith Delaney hopes to be hoisting the Herder trophy again in 2013-2014, this time as a member of the Clarenville Caribous.

The Delaney brothers and the CeeBees’ second round pick (eighth overall) in this year’s draft are heading to Clarenville in exchange for Matt and Mitch Bragg, Brandon Street, Andrew Hill and the Caribous’ first round pick (fourth overall) in the upcoming draft.When Caribous’ general manager Derek MacPhee learned about the possibility of landing the CeeBees’ captain Keith and Herder MVP Ryan, he jumped at the opportunity.

“We’re always looking at the strengths and weaknesses of the existing team,” MacPhee said.

“When it comes to Ryan and Keith, they’re proven forwards with a lot of skill and talent and experience and we thought they would be a great fit. They’re both big, strong forwards with a lot of skill. They compete. They have experience that’s been well proven.

“Last year in the first half of the regular season, Ryan was probably the dominant CeeBee forward and in the second half, it would be Keith and Robert Slaney. They have great skill and they are great team players,” said MacPhee.

The 2015 Allan Cup to be held in Clarenville played a big part in the team’s decision to acquire the 34-year-old Keith and 31-year-old Ryan. The decision was relatively easy to make, considering the team’s relationship with Ryan, who joined the Caribous for their run to the Allan Cup.

“We know the kind of character (Ryan) is and I’ve known Keith for a long time,” MacPhee said.

“It’s a very small world in senior hockey in Newfoundland. They’re both good, strong forwards and moving forward to 2015’s Allan Cup, we’ll need those types of players who can compete at that level and those two fellows fit the bill very well.”

Delaney ‘extremely excited’ to join the Herd

Keith admits he was not anticipating a trade during the offseason but is excited at the prospect of joining the Caribous.

“From my point of view, all intentions were a go and I was looking forward to suiting up with the CeeBees again next year, especially after winning last year,” Delaney said.

“Whenever the trade went through last week, I got a call from the CeeBees and was informed I was traded, which was a total surprise to me. I never requested a trade. They told me the team was looking to rebuild and looking to get some younger talent and they figured by trading me they could get some younger guys in. They also said for my point of view that it was a good opportunity to get a chance to play for Clarenville, a very competitive team that is hosting the Allan Cup in 2015. I quickly focused my attention to Clarenville and am extremely excited at the opportunity to come play for Clarenville. From the outside looking in, it seems to be run very well and very classy. I’m more than happy to be joining the Caribous next season.”

Caribous send Yetman to Mount Pearl for Kennedy

In a trade that occurred earlier last week, the Caribous have locked up goaltender Roger Kennedy for the season by trading forward Steve Yetman to the Mount Pearl Blades.

Kennedy played for Clarenville last season by way of Mount Pearl’s decision to take a one-year leave of absence from the league. Kennedy was on Mount Pearl’s protected list for the upcoming season and in order for him to rejoin the Caribous this season, he would have to be traded.

This is another deal that works well for both parties. The Caribous are able to keep the tandem of Jason Churchill and Roger Kennedy intact while Yetman, who lives in St. John’s, gets to play a little closer to home.

“That fell into place based on the circumstance of an individual wanting to change direction in their lives,” MacPhee said.

“In the case of Steve Yetman, he lives in St. John’s and . . . he wanted to take a direction where there wasn’t as much hockey and traveling. At first he was talking about quitting all together from hockey but with the Mount Pearl situation, he can go to the arena, play a game and be home again in a short period of time. It was a good fit for him to go to Mount Pearl.”

Saying goodbye

It’s never easy trading away players who have made an impact on your team and these trades were no exception. Andrew Hill has been a part of the Caribous for several years but sending Hill to the CeeBees just seemed to make sense for both parties.

“I originally signed Andrew Hill as a one-two punch with (Jeremy) Kavanaugh back six or seven years ago,” MacPhee said.

“He came here right after our inaugural season. He was among a group of guys five fellows left from that time period. It was a sad parting but at the same time, Andrew and I know that it’s a very small hockey world. I spoke with him and he was happy with the fact that he was told he was going to get more ice time there. He’ll have probably a more prominent role with the CeeBees.”

Yetman will be one player that will be particularly missed in Clarenville, not just for his efforts on the ice but also for his character in the dressing room.

“It was sad to see Yetman go,” MacPhee said.

“He’s one of those fellows that has a proven track record on the ice but he’s a great guy in the room. He’s a great team player and a lot of people liked him. Same as Andrew Hill. With Brandon Street, local boy, young upcoming talent. The only reason that Street is gone is you have to sweeten the pot for the CeeBees. It was a case where we didn’t want to lose (him) but it may have been something we had to do to get Ryan and Keith.”

Still irons in the fire

While the flurry of recent trade activity has the Caribous roster quickly taking shape, there’s still time and room for upgrades in all areas according to MacPhee.

“We’re still working on a couple of deals,” he said.

“Some of them are well aligned and most of them are in their infancy. We’re doing some preliminary talks on some other players. We’re trying to shore up our defense.”

Players often enter and exit the world of senior hockey without warning but MacPhee has been in touch with his players in recent weeks and believes the majority of his roster will be returning to the senior hockey and the Caribous next season.

“I’ve spoken to pretty well every player form last year they all indicated they were playing and seemed excited about it. There’s always a possibility that somebody could be moved on if we felt that we wanted to get something else in his place and get a different skill.”