The Battlefords North Stars have made a trade with the Dauphin Kings of the Manitoba Junior Hockey League. The North Stars pick up 19 year old center Alex Bechtold and futures in exchange for Robbie Newton and Joren Johnson.
Bechtold is listed at a solid 6’1 and 205 lbs according to Elite Hockey Prospects. He had 11 points in 24 games with the Canmore Eagles last season in the AJHL. Prior to that Bechtold played with the UFA Bisons on the same team as Josh Betinol. Bechtold is from Strathmore Alberta and looks like he’s got some offensive upside to go along with that solid frame.
The North Stars give up last season’s captain and a skilled puck moving d-man both with size. Both guys are well over 6 feet tall. Johnson has great skill on the back end where he is able to stick handle out of trouble and fire ahead a good first pass. He does get himself in trouble sometimes though probably in part because of that skill. Newton is a heart and soul type forward who hits, blocks shots, will fight and played in over 150 games as a North Star.
Robbie Newton has been with this team since I arrived in the Battlefords. He is a smart and mature young man who came back to the North Stars this season really wanting to make amends for last season’s playoff exit. That won’t happen now. But Newts should get a chance to play in the Western Canada Cup which Dauphin is hosting this year. I will also miss the whole Newton family who have been so nice to me over the past couple years.
I don’t know Joren as well as I know Robbie but everyone knows how I feel about kids from BC. Double J was always fun to watch on the ice and a solid young man off the ice. So both guys will be missed. But they do have a great opportunity out in Manitoba. Dauphin hosts the 2014 Crescent Point Energy Western Canada Cup starting on April 25th.
In other North Stars news, the SJHL Showcase is underway. The 10 North Stars taking part are:
And the North Stars would have sent 11 players but Dillon Forbes has been suspended. Forbes got a 3 game ban for the events of Friday night’s game against Melville. That will be the 2 showcase games and 1 regular season game that Forbes will miss. Interestingly he is eligible to return Saturday against Melville. It is unfortunate that a 20 year won’t get a chance to play at the showcase in front of the scouts. But I am sure Forbes will be seen enough this season to earn a scholarship.