Friday, November 5, 2010
Daily News Sports Editor
Jon Groenheyde didn’t ask for a trade, but he knew something was going on when he didn’t get the call to start in goal for the WHL’s Kamloops Blazers against the visiting Seattle Thunderbirds on Saturday night.
“That was the time when I figured it’s not happening for me here,” said Groenheyde on Thursday after he had been traded to the Edmonton Oil Kings. “I figured they were trying to do something. I knew then that they were just going with (Jeff) Bosch.”
In exchange for Groenheyde, a 19-year-old from Surrey, the Blazers acquired goaltender Cam Lanigan, an 18-year-old from Calgary.
The Blazers left yesterday morning for Calgary, where they are to play the Hitmen tonight. Groenheyde actually was on the team bus when . . .
“We were just about to leave and I got the call,” he said. “I had figured it was coming.”
And it wasn’t easy to leave.
“I love those guys,” he said. “Every guy on the team is like one of my best friends. I’m going to miss every one of them.”
When this season began, Groenheyde was the starter for four of the Blazers’ first five games. Then the team acquired Bosch, 20, from the Moose Jaw Warriors, and Groenheyde made just two starts in the last 12 games. He was yanked from both those starts — he gave up two goals on six shots in a 5-4 victory over the Rockets in Kelowna on Oct. 13 and allowed four goals on as many shots to start an 8-1 loss to the visiting Prince George Cougars on Oct. 16.
Groenheyde was 1-5-1 with a 3.67 GAA and a .873 save percentage this season, although two of the setbacks were a bit fishy thanks to a rule that tags whoever gives up the deciding goal with the loss.
On Oct. 11, in a 5-4 loss to the visiting Vancouver Giants, Groenheyde stopped 11 of 12 shots in relief of Bosch, who left while trailing 4-1. The Giants later led 5-3 before Colin Smith scored at 19:56 of the third period to make it 5-4, which meant the loss went to Groenheyde rather than Bosch.
On Oct. 27, in a 6-4 loss to the visiting Brandon Wheat Kings, Bosch left while down 4-0. Groenheyde came on and was beaten once as Brandon took a 5-0 lead. The Blazers later got to within one, at 5-4, but the goal Groenheyde gave up was the winner.
That also was Groenheyde’s last appearance here. He played pretty well, too, giving up one goal on 20 shots. Three nights later, however, Bosch got the start against Seattle — the Blazers won 3-2 in overtime — and Groenheyde started packing.
“I kind of figured that there was something going on,” he said. “But I was just going to keep working hard and see how it was going to play out.”
Groenheyde said he doesn’t know why things didn’t work out for him here.
“Honestly, I don’t know,” he said. “I felt I had a good preseason. And then they brought Boscher in. I don’t know. It just didn’t work out as I would have liked it to. But I’m happy to be in Edmonton.”
Groenheyde joined his new teammates — he didn’t know even one of them — in Prince George late yesterday afternoon. He didn’t get there in time to practise and didn’t know whether he or Laurent Brossoit, 17, would start tonight against the Cougars.
If Groenheyde does get the call, perhaps he’ll face Prince George’s James Priestner, who also is a former Blazers goaltender.
Randy Hansch, the Oil Kings’ assistant general manager and director of player personnel, was the Blazers’ director of player personnel when Kamloops placed Groenheyde on its protected list out of training camp in the fall of 2006.
Lanigan, a sixth-round pick by the Oil Kings in the 2007 bantam draft, was in his third season with Edmonton. This season, he was 4-8-1, 3.73, .866 in 15 appearances. In the previous two seasons, he went 13-23-2-4 with a 4.08 GAA.
NHL Central Scouting had Lanigan as the ninth ranked goaltender prior to the 2010 NHL draft. However, he wasn’t selected and ended up going to camp with the Calgary Flames as a free agent.
The Oil Kings don’t play in Kamloops this season, but the Blazers are scheduled to play in Edmonton on Feb. 18.
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