The Winkler Flyers and Virden Oil Capitals have come together on a trade that saw a veteran player dealt to a contender for a hometown rookie, a prospect and a draft pick, just in time for the Manitoba Junior Hockey League’s 2020 preseason.
Officially, the Oil Capitals dealt forward Tanner Andrew (2000) to the Flyers in exchange for forward Grady Lane (2003), the MJHL rights to forward Calder Anderson (2002) as well as a second round selection in the upcoming 2021 MJHL Bantam Draft.
Coming to Virden from Winkler is 6-foot-2, 195-pound forward Grady Lane, who accumulated four goals and 21 points in his first 48 games of Junior ‘A’ last season. His 126 penalty minutes were also a serious factor for the Flyers. Virden may be in conversation with the Western Hockey League’s Spokane Chiefs regarding Lane’s availability this season, as the 17-year-old suited up in one game for the team that drafted him in 2018.
“We are very excited to have added a player like Grady to our organization,” said head coach and GM Tyson Ramsey in a team-issued press release. “Not only is he a local guy but he is also a great player who brings so many things to our team. His work ethic and character are second to none and he has the ability to make an impact in any type of game. We certainly understand that he has an opportunity in the WHL with Spokane but if he is going to play in the MJHL we want it to be here in his hometown with us. This is a very good addition for the Oil Caps and with the uncertainty of the WHL season, he is a player that we could see as early as this season.”
Also included in the package deal is the list rights to Calder Anderson. An early-2002 birthday, Brandon’s Anderson played the past four seasons with the AAA Wheat Kings program, racking up three tremendously offensive U15 and U18 seasons. This output led to his inclusion on the Moose Jaw Warriors roster for 2019-20, where he skated in 62 games, scoring four times and adding six assists. Having Anderson drop back down to Junior ‘A’ would appear to be a long shot at any point.
“Calder is a player that we understand we may not have a chance to see here until he is 20 but if we ever do see the return it will be a big one,” Ramsey added. “He is an excellent player with a very high hockey IQ and tremendous character. He is someone I have experience coaching and love what he brings to any team he has played on. Calder is a very intelligent player that can play in any situation. We are very excited to have acquired Calder’s playing rights.”
Andrew – a 2020-21 Rochester Institute of Technology Tigers commit – was primed to begin the season with his new Division I teammates, but upon finding out that his start date of his athletic scholarship would be pushed back a calendar year, he requested a trade from his hometown team. A local product of Oak Lake (20 minutes east of Virden) the 20-year-old centreman will bring a boatload of offensive with him to Winkler. In 47 games for the Oil Caps in 2019-20, Andrew had 25 goals and 55 points.
With the expansion Winnipeg Freeze entering the picture for 2020-21, Winkler and Virden are now divisional rivals, with the league officially being broken up into three geographical divisions: the Northwest Division (Dauphin, OCN, Swan Valley, Waywayseecappo), the Interior Division (Neepawa, Portage, Virden, Winkler) and the Southeast Division (Selkirk, Steinbach, Winnipeg Blues, Winnipeg Freeze). Reasoning for this will be the limit of travel, player interactions, contacts and exposure, while hoping to see a minimal amount of game postponements due to the coronavirus.
Schedule Beakdown and Format:
Each team will play the other three teams within their division eight times during the regular season (Four Home/Four Away).
Each team will play the eight teams outside of their division twice during the season.
Each team will play a 40-game regular season schedule which has been significantly reduced from the standard 60-game regular season schedule (20 Home, 20 Away).
Each team will play two games a week and will only face one team each week.
Each team will play all of their games almost exclusively during the weekend this season (Friday, Saturday and/or Sunday).
Games scheduled within a team’s own division are almost exclusively arranged in four-game, two-week blocks.