Chipman, Smith traded to Crushers
AMHERST - The Ramblers are a ship without a captain and a first mate.
Amherst sent 20-year-olds Adam Chipman and Derek Smith to the Pictou County Weeks Crushers in a blockbuster Maritime Junior A Hockey League deal announced the morning of the league's trade deadline day.
Chipman, the Ramblers captain, and Smith, an alternate, were informed at about 10:30 a.m., Sunday. A little more than a half-hour later, they were hopping a bus with their new teammates to Summerside, P.E.I., where the Crushers lost 5-3 to the host Western Capitals.
"I kind of expected it," said Chipman, who spent three-and-a-half seasons in a purple-and-white uniform. "It's better for the Ramblers down the road and it's better for me, too.
"We have a chance to win and I'm pretty happy here, though it's still tough leaving Amherst."
The full scope of the trade won't be made public until the June draft. Chipman, Smith and the rights to junior B defenceman Kendall Costello were packaged to Pictou County in exchange for the rights to 16-year-old forward Greg Jansz, 19-year-old defenceman Christian Morin and future considerations.
The Crushers then flipped Costello's rights to Summerside for an eighth-round draft pick in 2010.
As part of the deal, at least one player from the Crushers roster will be sent to Amherst at the draft. Neither Ramblers head coach and general manager Corey Crocker nor Crushers head coach/GM Troy Dumville would confirm specifics.
Crocker said the trade was made with Chipman and Smith's blessing.
"It was never easy to do this deal, and one of the conditions was that Adam and Derek both agree to go," Crocker said. "They did, and their families did.
"We aren't in a position to win a championship this year, and this gives both of them a chance to do that and it will make us a better team in the future."
Jansz has 47 points in 27 games with the major midget Dartmouth Subways. Morin has nine points in 31 games in the Quebec major junior league this season, having been traded from Val-d'Or to Saint John in December. Costello was Amherst's sixth-round pick in 2009.
"Jansz is a future star and Morin will be a top-end D-man in this league as a 20-year-old," Dumville said.
Smith, who also spent three-and-a-half years as a Rambler, scored for his new team as the Crushers rallied from a 3-0 third-period deficit to tie the Caps, but gave up a power-play goal in the final minute of regulation.
"It wasn't an easy decision to make," Smith said. "But you want to win, especially in your last year, and the team is in last place and could use some players for the future, so that's what it came down to."
Smith, an Amherst resident, will continue to go to school in Springhill and commute to practices and games. Chipman, who hails from Tupperville, Annapolis Co., will likely relocate to Pictou County.
Crocker said the team's goals for this season remain unchanged.
"It's a business, and trades sometimes have to happen," he said.
"Our goal is still to make the playoffs and I firmly believe we will. We added a couple of players in Brandon Street and Jonathan Pardy over Christmas who will help us. Our players have to understand we are serious about winning, and sometimes you have to trade your 20-year-olds to put yourself in a position to win in the future.
"Our fans loved these two players, as did everyone in our dressing room, but they deserve a chance to win a championship after the hard work and sacrifices they've made for this organization."
Both wound up playing their last games for Amherst on Saturday, going out winners as the Ramblers beat the Halifax Lions 6-4.
Chipman had four assists and was named the game's second star. Justin Matthews netted a hat trick for the hosts, with singles to Kody Orr, Shane O'Byrne and Street. Jon Waye made 20 saves in goal. Amherst fired 44 shots at Ben Clarke.
The Ramblers began life without two of their leaders Sunday night, getting trounced 9-3 in Truro by the Bearcats to stretch their road losing streak to 13 games.
Matthews, Trevor Layton and Kodi Estey did the scoring for the visitors. Devon Cudmore got his first start since Dec. 2 in net, and made 30 saves before Waye came in with 14:14 left in the third period. The Ramblers managed just 20 shots at Kirk Rafuse in the Truro goal.
Crocker said a decision has yet to be made on who will take over as captain or if another player will be promoted to alternate in Smith's place. Forward Peter Baldwin is now the team's lone overager.
The trade deadline was 10 p.m., Sunday. Crocker said there were inquiries about several of the Ramblers' younger players following the Chipman-Smith deal, but nothing worth pursuing.
Amherst (13-21-1-1) visits the Dieppe Commandos on Tuesday.