The Lethbridge Hurricanes, in a heated race for the Central Division pennant, lost their starting goaltender on Monday when Liam Hughes left the WHL team.
In a statement released by the team, Hughes, a 19-year-old from Kelowna, said:
“”At this time I have decided to leave hockey for personal reasons. I’m sorry I can’t be more specific, but for me, personally, it is the right time to step away from a game that I love.
“I want to thank all of my family, friends and fans for your support, as I pursued my hockey dreams. I leave with fond memories from the game and I am excited to start the next chapter in my life.”
In the same news release, the Hurricanes said they “respect the decision made by Liam and his family.”
The statement continued: “The entire organization wishes Liam the best moving forward. There will be no further comment from the hockey club.”
This leaves the Hurricanes with Lethbridge native Carl Tetachuk, who turned 18 on Jan. 8, as their starting goaltender. A list player, he moved up through the Lethbridge minor hockey ranks, playing bantam AA and AAA, and midget AA and AAA there.
This season, his first in the WHL, he is 10-5-0, 3.05, .903.
The Hurricanes have added G Bryan Thomson, a 16-year-old from Moose Jaw, to their roster for the remainder of this season. A second-round selection in the 2017 bantam draft, Thomson had been playing with the midget AAA Notre Dame Hounds in Wilcox, Sask. With the Hounds, Thomson was 6-9-0, 2.94, .890.
Hughes was selected by the Edmonton Oil Kings in the seventh round of the WHL’s 2014 bantam draft.
On Sept. 18, 2017, the Oil Kings dealt Hughes to the Seattle Thunderbirds for a fourth-round selection in the WHL’s 2019 bantam draft.
The Hurricanes acquired Hughes and an eighth-round selection in the 2018 bantam draft from Seattle on Jan. 1 in exchange for veteran F Keltie Jeri-Leon, F Michael Horon and a fourth-round pick in the 2019 bantam draft. Horon, 17, is from Lethbridge. He has since played one game with the Thunderbirds.
This season, Hughes was 2-3-1, 3.44, .892 in six appearances with the Hurricanes. He had started six of their last eight game. In 29 games with Seattle, he had been 10-16-3, 3.67, .899.
In 78 career regular-season games, Hughes is 29-35-12, 3.38, .903.
Prior to acquiring Hughes, the Hurricanes had been going with Reece Klassen, a 19-year-old sophomore from Cloverdale, B.C., and Tetachuk as their goaltenders. The day after the trade for Hughes, the Hurricanes dealt Klassen to the Spokane Chiefs for a seventh-round pick in the 2020 bantam draft.
The Hurricanes (24-13-8) and Medicine Hat Tigers (26-16-4) are tied for third in the Central Division, two points behind the first-place Oil Kings (25-14-8) and one behind the Red Deer Rebels (27-14-3).
The Hurricanes are next to play on Friday when they meet the Thunderbirds in Kent, Wash.
There’s more right here on former Brandon Wheat Kings’ star Brian Propp, this award and all that he has been through of late.
D Egor Zamula of the Calgary Hitmen has been suspended for one game after being hit with a headshot major and game misconduct during a 4-1 loss to the visiting Red Deer Rebels on Sunday. . . . Zamula was tossed for a hit on Red Deer F Oleg Zaytsev at 3:47 of the third period. . . . Zamula won’t play Friday against the visiting Prince George Cougars.
The Calgary Hitmen have returned G Brayden Peters and F Sean Tschigerl to their midget AAA teams. . . . Tschigerl, 15, is from Whitecourt, Alta., and was the fourth-overall selection in the WHL’s 2018 bantam draft. He was pointless in one game with the Hitmen, and now is back with the prep team at OHA Edmonton. . . . Peters, a 17-year-old from Taber, Alta., was brought in to back up starter Jack McNaughton with Carl Stankowski (ankle) out of action. Peters didn’t see any playing time, and now is back with the midget AAA Lethbridge Hurricanes. The Hitmen selected Peters in the fifth round of the 2017 bantam draft.
The Kootenay Ice has returned D Carson Lambos to the Rink Hockey Academy prep team in Winnipeg. . . . Lambos, 15, was the second-overall selection in the WHL’s 2018 bantam draft. . . . Lambos, who is from Winnipeg, now has played five games with the Ice. He scored his first WHL goal on Saturday night in a 7-5 loss to the Wheat Kings in Brandon. Interestingly, he scored the goal while his brother, Jonny, a freshman defenceman with Brandon, was in the penalty box.