By Darrell Cole
SPRINGHILL - The Cumberland County Cool Blues are serious about repeating as Nova Scotia Junior Hockey League champions.
The Blues, who opened the post-Christmas portion of their schedule Friday at home against the Antigonish Bulldogs, have acquired forward Jeff Deruelle and defenceman Ryan Oakley from the Glace Bay Miners in return for future considerations.
"We had two or three roster spots open and played with a lighter bench all season. It gave us the opportunity to add a couple of key players for another long playoff run," Blues' general manager Ron Reynolds said. "Both Deruelle and Oakley are players I have been after from the start of the season."
Deruelle is seventh in league scoring with 18 goals and 18 assists in 24 games while Oakley is considered one of the top defencemen in the league with 13 goals and 11 assists. Both also come to the Blues with junior A experience, with Deruelle having played with the Miramichi Timberwolves and Oakley with the Truro Bearcats.
Reynolds said he had discussions with the Miners before the season started about acquiring both players.
"They were interested in hosting the Don Johnson Cup (Atlantic junior B championship). We made an agreement that if they got the Don Johnson and we weren't in the running that I'd give my overagers another shot at it. I told them I'd be interested in getting Deruelle and Oakley if they didn't get it and weren't in contention," Reynolds said.
Like the addition of Paul Ross from the junior A Bridgewater Lumberjacks and Ryan Gale from the Windsor Royals last season, this move shows Blues' fans that the club is determined to represent the league at this year's Don Johnson Cup in St. Margaret's Bay.
"Oakley is probably the best defenceman in the league while Jeff is a power forward who can play both ends of the ice and brings a lot of grit," Reynolds said.
"Our league is so tight right now that this will give us a bit of an edge. It gives us a bit of a luxury in that we can run four lines and seven defencemen. It makes us stronger."
Oakley and Deruelle are expected to be in the lineup Friday along with the club's other addition, former Amherst Ramblers forward Zach Carson.
Reynolds isn't ruling out making more moves before Sunday's signing deadline.
By Darrell Cole
Organizations: Don JohnsonTop of page