Gelbard and Kim Depart as Rivermen Strengthen Defence with Luke Ashton
Langley, BC – June 29, 2023 – The Langley Rivermen have made a transaction in the British Columbia Hockey League (BCHL), acquiring two players from the Vernon Vipers, highlighted by towering left-handed defenseman Luke Ashton.
Head Coach Burt Henderson is thrilled with the acquisition of Ashton, “Luke is a game changer. At 6′ 5″, his presence on the ice is felt by everyone. His experience with the Vipers over the last two seasons has shaped him into a dominant force in defence. We’re excited to have him bolster our back end.”
The Rivermen have also acquired forward Copeland Fricke in the deal. Although Fricke is set to move to the Lone Star Brahmas in the NAHL, his valuable skill set and past contributions have been recognized by the Rivermen coaching staff.
Associate Coach Tyler Kuntz added, “We see the potential in Copeland. Even though he’s transitioning to the NAHL, we believe this trade reflects the future vision of our organization.”
In exchange for these players, the Rivermen are parting ways with Walker Gelbard and Owen Kim. Gelbard, a steadfast Rivermen player for two seasons following his stint with the Cranbrook Bucks, will be heading to the Vipers. Kim, a talented forward, will be pursuing his hockey career at the College of the Holy Cross in NCAA.
Director of Hockey Operations Curt Fraser reflected on the decision to trade Gelbard and Kim, “Both Walker and Owen have been instrumental to our team. We thank them for their dedicated service to the Rivermen and wish them every success in their future endeavors.”
This strategic move further solidifies the Rivermen’s focus on strengthening their defensive game while building a high-performing team capable of challenging for BCHL supremacy.