Valley Wildcats hockey
With Blade Mann-Dixon chosen by the Saint John Sea Dogs in the 11th round of the 2014 Quebec Major Junior Hockey League draft, the Valley junior Wildcats picked up a little insurance June 1.
The Wildcats received goalie Billy Clarke from Amherst in exchange for a pair of 2015 draft picks.
“The league had a short trade period before the draft, and (June 1), Billy Clarke became available,” said general manager Nick Greenough.
Clarke, a five-foot-10, 160-pound native of Dayspring, has played three seasons in the MHL, mostly with Bridgewater, before being traded to Amherst during the 2013-2014 season. Prior to that, he played with South Shore Mustangs midget AAA.
“He’s a 20-year-old, I coached against him in midget,” Greenough said. “With Blade having been drafted by the Q, he adds depth to our goaltending position. It also gives us the luxury of a starter even if we end up losing Blade.”
Clarke, who turned 20 on Jan. 3, had a 4.54 goals against average and an .882 save percentage in 33 games with Bridgewater in 2011-2012 as an 18-year-old.
In 2012-2013, he again played in 33 games for Bridgewater, compiling a 4.99 goals against average and an .866 save percentage. He also played in two playoff games.
This past season, Clarke had a 4.84 goals against average and an .874 save percentage in 20 games with Bridgewater, and a 4.05 goals against average and .894 save percentage in 10 games with Amherst.
Greenough said Clarke “seemed excited” at the change of team.
He added that his understanding is that Saint John is “very high” on Mann-Dixon, but there’s no guarantee he will end up making the Sea Dogs.
In another transaction, the Wildcats sent defenceman Kaden Ruest to the Brooks (AB) Bandits as the player to be named later from the Jan. 10, 2014 trade in which Valley obtained forward Jeremy Butterworth for future considerations.
Greenough said the Wildcats’ two territorial selections in the 2014 MHL draft would be announced June 9, four days prior to the MHL draft set for June 13.
Wildcats' property Jesse Hamer, who has not yet played with the team, was also drafted May 31. The five-foot-10 forward was chosen in the ninth round by Chicoutimi.