Ceebees stir the pot
Blockbuster trades bring Terry Ryan, Doug O’brien to Harbour Grace
The Conception Bay North CeeBee Stars have altered the hockey landscape in this province following a pair of jaw-dropping transactions last week that brought two well-known and top-calibre talents to Harbour Grace.
In two separate moves, the CeeBees pulled off two of the biggest trades in the young history of the Newfoundland and Labrador Senior Hockey League.
The deals bring former professional players Terry Ryan and Doug O’Brien to the Stars, bolstering an already impressive off-season that featured the signing of Upper Island Cove native Robert Slaney.
Assistant coach and executive member Peter George said the moves are “sure to make the team a lot better.”
George said the CeeBees were approached by both the Mount Pearl Blades and the Western ( formerly Corner Brook) Royals about making a deal, and were “able to work out trades that benefitted all parties.”
First, the Blades and the CeeBees agreed to a trade that would send defenceman Mitch Flynn and a future first-round pick to the Blades for Ryan, a speedy, gritty and playmaking forward.
In the inaugural season of the NLSHL, Ryan put up good numbers, registering three goals and 19 assists. He finished fourth in team scoring for the Blades.
The 35-year-old Mount Pearl native, arguably one of the biggest names on the provincial scene, brings a wealth of professional experience to S.W. Moores Memorial Stadium.
He was the 8th overall selection in the 1995 National Hockey League Entry Draft, taken by the Montreal Canadiens. Ryan spent close to the next decade bouncing between major junior, the American Hockey League the East Coast Hockey League, the West Coast Hockey League and the International Hockey League.
Ryan appeared in eight games for the Montreal Canadiens, registering no points and 36 penalty minutes. His best season as a professional came in 1998 when he registered 43 points in 55 games with the Fredericton Canadiens of the AHL.
Flynn, a fringe third-string defenceman, failed to register a point in 13 games with the CeeBees.
Help on defence
In the second move of the week, the club shipped forward Mark Tobin and starting goaltender Doug Jewer to the Royals in exchange for top-flight defenceman Doug O’Brien.
George hailed O’Brien, a 28-year-old St. John’s native, as “the best defenceman in the league and his resume is impressive.”
Like Ryan, O’Brien brings a wealth of experience. He spent four years with the Gatineau ( formerly Hull) Olympiques of the Quebec Major Junior League. At the end of the 200304 season, he captured the Emile Bouchard Trophy as the league’s best defenceman. That season O’Brien was also named to the all-star team.
During his four years, O’Brien made consecutive trips to the Memorial Cup final, only to lose both times. In 2004, he captured the Ed Chynoweth Trophy as the top scorer in the tournament after posting three goals and five assists.
In 2003, the Tampa Bay Lightning drafted him in the 6th round. He dressed for five games with the club in 2005.
O’Brien has also appeared in games with the Springfield Falcons, Rochester Americans and Portland Pirates of the AHL, as well as the Florida Everglades and Johnstown Chiefs, both of the ECHL.
His last professional season came in 201011 season, when O’Brien suited up for HC Sparta Praha of the Czech Extraliga, in Czechoslovakia. Stints with HC Plzen 1929 and Raumon Lukko dot his resume.
He finished last year third in scoring last season among defencemen in the NLSHL, notching seven goals and 15 assists, good for 22 points in 23 games. Only Martin Lapointe and Nick Theriault of the Grand Falls-Wind- sor Cataracts finished above him.
O’Brien figures to slide into the lineup next to long-time CeeBees’ rearguard Mike Dyke. He would replace Colin Archer, who will be playing with Acadia this season.
Tobin returns to the Royals after just one season in Harbour Grace. He registered nine goals, 10 assists and 19 points in 23 games with the CeeBees.
Jewer started the year off behind incumbent Freddy Diamond on the goaltending depth chart. But by Christmas, he had replaced Diamond as the No. 1 tender for coach Corey Crocker. He posted a record of seven wins and 11 losses in 19 games with a goals against average of 3.553.
Jewer will compete with the league’s top goaltender Bradley Dyke for the No. 1 spot with the Royals.
The move leaves the CeeBees with Diamond as the only goaltender on the roster.
George stated the team is reaching out to goaltenders ahead of training camp in St. John’s this weekend.
“We think both Terry and Doug will be great additions to our team; they are both professionals and both have spent time in the NHL,” said George.
Nigel Black (right), chief administrative officer with the Town of Bay Roberts, stands next to a culvert that normally takes water from Big Pond into the town’s so-called “supply pond.” At left is Coun. Wade Oates. Water in Big Pond has receded by about five feet this summer.
Doug O’Brien comes to the CeeBees from the Western (formerly Corner Brook) Royals.
Newest CeeBee Terry Ryan is seen here in action with the Mount Pearl Blades during 2011-12 Newfoundland and Labrador Senior Hockey League play.