Forwards Bailey Shaver and Chaydyn Johnson left the Cheyenne Stampede early last week. I found out that both players informed Cheyenne coach Eric Ballard of their intent to leave the team when I was doing interviews at the Cheyenne Ice and Events Center on Tuesday.
I was waiting to write this blog post until I got some more information on where they were headed but got busy (and caught a 24-hour stomach bug on Thanksgiving of all days).
Shaver and Johnson have moved to the inactive portion of the Stampede roster on PointStreak.com, so here’s what I know about their departures.
Shaver, an 18-year-old from Everett, Washington, has reportedly signed with the Osoyoos Coyotes of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League. The Coyotes are based in Osoyoos, British Columbia and are currently 24-4 and have a KIJHL-best 49 points. The KIJHL is a Junior B hockey league.
Shaver, a 6-foot-1, 185-pounder, is in his third season of junior hockey. He spent the first two seasons with the Bellingham Blazers of the Northern Pacific Hockey League (NORPAC). He scored three goals and dished out four assists in 17 games with the Stampede (6-12-1-0).
Johnson, an 18-year-old from Westbank, British Columbia, doesn’t have a new home to the best of my knowledge. The 6-1, 190-pound forward scored one goal in nine regular season games with Cheyenne.
“They both came in and said they thought Cheyenne wasn’t a good fit for them and that they’d like to go somewhere else,” Ballard said. “We didn’t get rid of them.”
Player movement has become common for the Stampede as of late.
Defenseman and captain Mitchell Mueller left for the Pembroke Lumber Kings of the Central Canada Hockey League in early November. Forward Mitch Reynders also left the Stampede at roughly the same time.
Cheyenne then sent forward Jacob Rudloff to the Butte (Mont.) Cobras, a fellow Western States Hockey League member, in a cash deal. Rudloff played in 11 games with the Stampede and has netted one assist in both games he’s played with the Cobras.
It hasn’t been all departures for the Stampede, though.
They acquired forward Drake DeBerry and defenseman Scott Taylor from the WSHL’s Ogden (Utah) Mustangs right before Mueller left. Both players have played in seven games with Cheyenne.
The Stampede also picked up Latvian defenseman Niklavs Balgalvis from the San Diego Gulls (WSHL), and signed Russian goaltender Egor Riabchikov. Those two players have spent five games in Stampede sweaters.
Cheyenne is only carrying 22 of 25 possible players right now, so expect further additions. Last week, Ballard hinted that a Canadian forward could suit up in the Capital City as early as Dec. 5.
WSHL teams’ rosters are locked from trades and new acquisitions Feb. 10.
Forward Jack Speer also could be returning from an injury that has sidelined him since mid-October. The Kent, Wash., product dished out one assist in six games with the Stampede. He spent last season with the NORPAC’s Bellingham Blazers, where he scored five goals and dished out 14 assists in 25 games.
The 6-2, 200-pound, 18-year-old, started skating last week, but don’t expect to see him in a game before Cheyenne hosts the Denver-based Colorado Evolution on Dec. 13.
Even that’s probably a best-case scenario.
I’ll blog more about Speer’s recovery and potential return later this week.