BROOKS, AB (June 3, 2016) – The Brooks Bandits of the Alberta Junior Hockey League (AJHL) have traded 1996-born defenceman Jesse Baird (Brampton, ON), 1998-born forward Matteo Aiello (Calgary, AB), and the rights to 1999-born defenceman Jared Bowman (Calgary, AB) to the Fort McMurray Oil Barons, the team announced today.
“These are very tough trades for us, but the reality is that we needed to improve our hockey club towards the playoffs, and the only way to acquire a quality player is to give up quality players,” said Bandits head coach and general manager Ryan Papaioannou.
The move completes the team’s November 30, 2015 trade through which the Bandits acquired 1996-born forward Landon Welykholowa (Calgary, AB), 1997-born defenceman Tristan Thompson (Canmore, AB), and future considerations in exchange for 1997-born forward Hayden Ursulak (Calgary, AB), 1997-born forward Will Conley (Strathmore, AB), and future considerations.
Welykholowa went on to score 36 points (14 goals, 22 assists) in 33 regular season games as a Bandit, adding a further 9 points (3 goals, 6 assists) in 13 playoff games, 4 points (2 goals, 4 assists) in 6 Western Canada Cup games, and 1 assist in 4 RBC Cup games. Thompson recorded 33 points (6 goals, 27 assists) in 33 regular season games as a Bandit, and added 8 points (3 goals, 5 assists) in 13 AJHL playoff games, 4 points (2 goals, 2 assists) in 6 Western Canada Cup games, and 1 assist in 5 RBC Cup games.
Baird played in a total of 140 regular season games over three full seasons as a Bandit, serving this past season as an alternate captain, and recording 49 points (6 goals, 43 points) in that span. He also dressed in 33 total AJHL playoff games, recording 9 points (2 goals, 7 assists). Aiello was in his rookie season in the AJHL, and scored 8 points (4 goals, 4 assists) in 31 games, while Bowman scored 24 points (3 goals, 21 assists) in 34 games with the Northwest Calgary Athletic Association Flames midget AAA team this past season.
“Jesse made a difficult transition to defence after his first season and has done well in becoming a counted-on defender for our group,” Papaioannou added. “Matteo had a good rookie season, and this allows him the opportunity to gain more valuable ice time, while Jared will be in a similar position where he can play important minutes right away.”
The Bandits will raise their 2015-16 AJHL championship banner when the 2016-17 AJHL season begins in mid-September of this year; the team’s full schedule is expected to be announced later this month.