One of the big questions to emerge from the Williams Lake franchise being suspended for the 2010-11 season is what will happen to their players. The last time the Timberwolves went bust (after the 2006-07 season) their players were distributed around the BCHL in a dispersal draft. This time around they'll be free agents.
I haven't heard from the league why the board decided to go in a different direction this time. Some I'm sure will be upset because traditionally a dispersal draft gives an opportunity to the league's "weaker sisters" from last season to get a bit of a boost. Perhaps they didn't go that way because the team wasn't as well established and a number of the players hadn't even been with the organization for half the season. Perhaps it's because they felt there wouldn't be enough players of interest to get through a full draft. Ultimately I think it just came down to allowing those players who had chosen to go to Williams Lake to now get an opportunity to decide their next move.
One of the casualties of the Timberwolves suspension is that there will be 23 fewer jobs for players in the league. Some will say that is a victory for the depth of the talent pool and the quality of the rosters. However, it is unfortunate that 23 kids won't get an opportunity to suit up in this league again next season.
As for players who could be of interest, one of them is Castlegar native Anthony DeLong (pictured) who scored 23 points as a rookie with the Wolves. It's worth noting that the majority of those points came as he made a surge with more ice time in the second half. A player like DeLong can now not only explore options in the BCHL but any other Junior A league in Canada. He could also decide to return home and play for new Rebels Coach Steve Junker in the KIJHL. The point is that his future is in his hands.
Anyone interested in taking a look at what the Williams Lake roster has to offer can do so by clicking here. I would have to think that guys like Trent Murdoch and 2009-10 All-Star Justin Bardarson will get a look for sure. What other players could find themselves on BCHL rosters and where... that's anybody's guess. Good luck to all of them as they try to figure out the next step in their hockey journey.
As for the Timberwolves, I'll have an interview with Governor and minority shareholder Richard Kohler on Mountain FM's Overtime tonight. I'll get that posted to the blog soon. He has some interesting things to say.
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