Warriors add a pair at trade deadline

The West Kelowna Warriors added more experience and depth up front at the BC Hockey League trade deadline.

Prior to Thursday's deadline, the Warriors made a pair of moves adding two experienced forwards to a unit that has suffered through injuries throughout much of the season.

Earlier in the week, the Warriors sent rookie forward Jetlan Houcher and future considerations to the Fort McMurray Oil Barons of the Alberta Junior Hockey League in exchange for 20-year-old Daniel Gayle.

Gayle, who spent the previous two-and-a-half seasons with Moose Jaw and Calgary in the Western Hockey League, had 27 points in 35 games with the Oil Barons this season.

Just hours before the deadline the Warriors completed a deal with the Coquitlam Express.

The Warriors acquired Coquitlam captain Mitch Nardi for future considerations.

Nardi, who has secured a scholarship to Lake Superior State University, was Coquitlam's leading scorer with five goals and 20 assists in 35 games.

The moves bring the Warriors up to the league roster limit of 22.

Warriors coach/GM Rylan Ferster says he's happy with the way things shook out at the deadline.

Having added a pair of character forwards, Ferster says the team is in better shape to overcome an ongoing rash of injuries as it heads into the stretch drive.

"We have to make the playoffs and we have to give ourselves the best opportunity to do that right now," says Ferster who acknowledged the challenge of adding depth without sacrificing future years.

"You have to look at next year," says Ferster.

"Some of our best players are young so you have to think about the future."

The Warriors come out of the deadline in a dogfight with Salmon Arm, Trail and Vernon for the final two playoff spots in the Interior Conference.

West Kelowna is currently third in the conference, a point better than Salmon Arm  and three up on Trail. Vernon lurks seven points back.

The second place Merritt Centennials are six points better than the Warriors.

Gayle and Nardi are both expected to be in the line-up this weekend.

The Warriros host Powell River Friday night before travelling to Trail and a date with the Smoke Eaters Saturday.

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