The Winnipeg ICE have made a blockbuster trade, acquiring forward Zack Ostapchuk from the Vancouver Giants in exchange for two players, two prospects and a boatload of draft capital.
Officially, the trade sees Ostapchuk heading to Winnipeg, with Skyler Bruce and Connor Dale along with Hudson Landmark and Owen Brees going to Vancouver. On top of the four players, the Giants will also receive a first and fifth round pick in the 2024 WHL Prospects Draft, a first round pick in the 2025 WHL Prospects Draft and a first round pick in the 2026 WHL Prospects Draft.
The move signifies Winnipeg’s pursuit of Western Hockey League championship and a shot at the Memorial Cup – something the league’s very top team from last year was unable to accomplish, as injuries decreased their chances late last season.
But it also was bittersweet for the club as it had to say goodbye to one of its homegrown Winnipeg products Skyler Bruce in order to get the deal done.
“Moving Skyler was a very difficult decision,” ICE General Manager Matt Cockell said. “He has been a great ICE player on and off the ice for a number of years. We wish both Skyler and Connor all the best in Vancouver.”
The 19-year-old Ostapchuk now joins the ICE following his second-straight gold medal with Team Canada at the recent IIHF World Junior Hockey Championship. He is in his fourth season with Vancouver and has served as the team’s captain for the past two years. His 10 goals and 29 points in 21 games will be a welcomed addition to an already exceptional ICE offence.
Skating in 153 regular season games for the Giants, the St. Albert, AB. product has 48 gaols and 96 points to his name alongside 118 penalty minutes. He has another seven goals and 23 points in 14 career postseason matches.
The 6-foot-3, 200-pound forward was chosen 39th overall in the second round of the 2021 NHL Draft by the Ottawa Senators. He will look to make his Winnipeg debut on Wednesday in a battle with Brad Lambert and the CHL’s No. 1 ranked team, the Seattle Thunderbirds, at 7:00 PM central time at the Wayne Fleming Arena.
Winnipeg is currently ranked No. 2, while sitting at 29-5-0 on the year. Seattle is 28-5-2 with one additional game played than the ICE.
The Winnipeg ICE are currently promoting ticket sales for the game with a ‘Buy One Get One Free special. An additional ticket will be added to your cart for free following the purchase of one adult ticket – while supplies last.