A Chilliwack Chiefs team with its an eye on a BCHL championship added a pair of veteran pieces around the Jan. 10 trade deadline, dealing for defenceman Anthony Allepot and forward Jack Seymour.
Both players found themselves on the move for the first time in their young hockey careers, which is no easy thing.
Allepot, 20, came to Chilliwack from the Penticton Vees in a rare swap between title contenders.
“It was nice for me because I left a really good organization, but got a chance to come to another good team too,” the Quebec product said. “It turned out really well. It’s a weird experience (being traded), but that’s how hockey works, and it was nice that the Chiefs wanted me a lot.
“My mom was actually in Penticton because I didn’t get to go home for Christmas, and she helped me pack all my bags.”
Allepot said the trade came as a big surprise. Vees hockey boss Fred Harbinson needed to clear up a logjam of 20 year olds and he was the guy to go.
“I didn’t know much about the Chiefs coming here,” the six-foot-three and 191 pound blueliner said. “I came here for the BCHL Showcase and saw the really nice rink, but that’s it.”
Because of COVID, Allepot couldn’t even hug his Penticton billets as he left and when he got to Chilliwack he had to quarantine in a hotel for two nights.
He made his Chiefs debut Jan. 7 and has played two more games since.
“We’re a big team, tough to play against with a lot of grit,” the fifth-year junior said, talking about first impressions. “I’m a big guy and I’d like to bring even more toughness and grit to my team. I’ve worked on my offensive play too and sometimes you might see me bringing some of that, so I think I’d describe myself as a two-way defenceman.”
Seymour is another 20-year-old, picked up from the Brooks Bandits of the Alberta Junior Hockey League.
Like Allepot, this was his first time being traded.
Unlike Allepot, he saw it coming.
“We had too many 20s in Brooks and Chilliwack was looking to add the last piece to their puzzle, and I thought it might be me,” said Seymour, who like Allepot also hails from Quebec. “I wanted to somewhere where they wanted me and needed me and this was the spot.
“It was a stressful and crazy couple days, and the hardest part was saying goodbye to my billets and the guys, but since I’ve got here it’s been great.”
Seymour made his Chiefs debut Jan. 14 and in two games so far he’s got one goal and one assist.
“The big difference I see so far is the BCHL is a lot more skilled, and faster,” he said. “The AJHL has skill, but also a lot of grit and hitting. The other thing is there’s a big gap between the top teams and the lower teams in the AJHL, where in the BCHL anyone can beat anyone on any night.”
Seymour’s offensive production doesn’t jump off the page, but he has enough speed and skill to play up and down the lineup, and that’s the role he figures he’ll fill.
“I’m smart defensively and I can bring a lot of speed to the lineup,” he said. “I think I’m the type of player where I can perform wherever you put me in the lineup, from the first to the fourth line, and from what I’ve seen so far, I think we have the type of team that can go far in the playoffs and win it.”