The Tri-City Americans’ blue line is black and blue.
With upper body injuries to captain Mitch Topping and Wil Tomchuk, the Americans were down to five defensemen until general manager Bob Tory pulled the trigger on a trade with the Kootenay Ice for Jeff Hubic.
Hubic, 19, was in the middle of his third season with the Ice when he was dealt to Tri-City for a seventh-round pick in 2014 WHL bantam draft.
“I was shocked, initially,” Hubic said. “I’ve been here since the start. I kinda knew something would happen sooner or later. Kootenay had eight defensemen with guys getting healthy. I’m excited to come to Tri-City.”
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With Topping and Tomchuk expected to be out until the team’s Alberta trip in January, the Americans had five healthy defensemen — veterans Justin Hamonic and Michal Plutnar, and rookies Parker Wotherspoon, Brandon Carlo and Riley Hillis.
“With the injuries to Topping and Tomchuk, and with Michal and Parker away for tournaments before and after the winter break, we needed to address a depth issue on our blue line,” Tory said in a news release. “Jeff is an experienced defenseman who will add size to our group.”
The 6-foot-3, 185-pound Hubic left Cranbrook, British Columbia, this morning and was expected to arrive just in time to enjoy a Thanksgiving feast with his new billets.
Hubic will be staying with the family who billeted former Americans forward Ryan Chynoweth, who was traded to the Ice earlier this season.
“Ryan said it was a great town and he had a great time when he was there,” Hubic said. “He was excited for me. It was great to be able to talk to him about that.”
Hubic played 153 games for the Ice, scoring two goals with 12 assists and 188 penalty minutes.
“He is an honest, hard-working guy,” said Kootenay GM Jeff Chynoweth. “He’s a solid stay-at-home guy, but he can play forward and defense, whatever the team needs.”