The Surrey Eagles shook up the core of their team Thursday, trading captain Cody Schiavon to the Trail Smoke Eaters for two players.
In return for their captain – who was one of just three returning players from last season’s Eagles’ team – the South Surrey-based BC Hockey League received 20-year right-winger Liam Freeborn and 19-year-old defenseman Liam O’Hearn, who was born in North Delta but whose family now resides on the Semiahmoo Peninsula. Trail also receives the junior ‘A’ playing rights of Justyn Gurney, who played part of last season with the Eagles but is currently playing in the Western Hockey League with the Everett Silvertips.
In a news release announcing the trade, the Eagles made note that trading the captain – “One of the faces of the team for the past 2+ years,” the release notes – was not an easy move.
“This was a difficult decision, but I felt it was in the best interest of Cody moving forward,” head coach Cam Keith said. “He was an excellent leader, and a true representation of what it means to be a Surrey Eagle.
“He always played with his heart and soul, and gave a lot back to his community. He’ll truly be missed by everyone in the organization.”
The deal upgrades the Eagles’ forward ranks significantly – Freeborn has been playing on Trail’s top line alongside Kent Johnson and Michael Colella, the BCHL’s top two scorers. Freeborn has eight points in 16 games, but has been red-hot of late, with seven of those points coming in the last eight games.
O’Hearn will look to replace Schiavon on the Eagles’ blue line. He had one goal and three assists in 17 games for Trail, and has been one of the team’s top defensive players.
In announcing the trade, the Smoke Eaters called Schiavon “one of the most dynamic two-way defencemen in the BCHL.”
“Cody possesses a competitiveness and toughness… (and) what we’re most excited about is we are adding a BCHL captain to our dressing room and a player with family ties to our great city of Trail,” said Smoke Eaters head coach and general manager Jeff Tambellini.