The Rebels and Ghostriders have finalized a trade that sees all-star goaltender Andrew Walton head to the Elk Valley in exchange for 20 year-old defenseman Mike Wiest and 17 year-old forward Jamie Vlanich. The local netminder was moved one appearance shy of 100 as a Rebel, during which time he posted a 59-29-3 record, 9 shutouts and a 2.69 GAA. This move definitely caught me by surprise, but I'm sure Walton will shine in Fernie and I wish him nothing but the best (even though it could be a bit odd seeing him in black and red should these two clubs meet in the playoffs).
In Wiest, the Rebels get a power-play quarterback to replace Matt Ridley. The Enchant, Alberta native has 35 points (which by the way would be good for top spot on the current Rebels roster), and is no stranger to the West Kootenay, having spent parts of two seasons with the Beaver Valley Nitehawks. Vlanich, a Trail product, is now with his third KIJHL team after spending last season in Golden. He'll bring speed to the Rebels contingent of forwards, and has 11 points in 19 games this year (though he was injured earlier in the season). To both the new Rebels, welcome to Castlegar, should be interesting to see how they both fit in this weekend (particularly Saturday night in Fruitvale).