It might be the offseason, but the Surrey Eagles have been as busy as ever trying to right the ship for the coming season, after back-to-back years in the basement of the BC Hockey League.
In the last two weeks, the Eagles have received commitments from two players – 19-year-old defenceman Jackson Ross, and 16-year-old South Surrey resident Hunter Donahoe, also a defenceman.
As well, the Birds re-acquired Darius Davidson in a trade with the Penticton Vees last week.
The 20-year-old forward – among the team’s top goal-scorers last year – was dealt from the Eagles to the Vees midway through last year.
Donohoe joins the Eagles from the Semiahmoo Minor Hockey Association; he was also an affiliate player this past year with the BC Major Midget League champion Valley West Hawks.
“I grew up in Ocean Park watching (the Eagles) and I always wanted to play for them,” the six-foot-three blue-liner said in a news release.
“It’s a huge opportunity for me, as a 16-year-old, to come in. I’m so excited to get the season going.”
Donohoe’s older brother, Taylor, played in the BCHL from 1999-2003, before moving on to Wayne State University in the NCAA.
The young prospect shone at the Eagles’ spring evaluation camp earlier this year, said assistant coach Brad Tobin.
“His size is a big factor that stands out,” he said. “His gap control and his one-on-ones when players came into the zone against him were excellent at spring camp.
“He wasn’t used to playing against junior ‘A’ and ‘B’ calibre guys, but he showed really well, and we’ve liked him since then.”
The team’s other addition to the defence corps, the American-born Ross, played last season with the Junior ‘B’ Kamloops Storm, tallying 26 points.
Earlier in the offseason, Surrey also secured a commitment from New York native Jordan Robert, a forward who is already committed to the NCAA – he’ll join Clarkson University for the 2017/18 season.
Davidson, meanwhile, was reacquired in a three-team deal that also included the Cowichan Valley Capitals.
Davidson finished last season with 14 goals and 16 assists in 51 games split between Surrey and Penticton.
“I’m really excited to play my final year of junior hockey at home in Surrey,” Davidson said. “I obviously still know a lot of the players, so I’m happy that I get to assume a leadership role once again.”
In exchange for Davidson, Surrey sent forward Darren Hards to the Vees, and the playing rights to defenceman Ryan Jones to Cowichan.
Jones played 12 games for the Eagles last season before jumping to the Western Hockey League’s Vancouver Giants.