Needing a natural centre and offence, the Penticton Vees have turned to Brock Balson.
“He was looking for a change from Salmon Arm,” said Vees coach-GM Fred Harbinson.
Upon realizing their need, the Vees got on the phone Tuesday and made the deal. Harbinson said it was difficult to move two good kids.
“Ferguson is going to be a really good defenceman in this league,” he said.
The Vees coach said the situation will be better for both as they get a chance to play a little more.
“I think it’s going to be good for him for a change of scenery,” said Harbinson of Anderson. “He’s going to get an opportunity to play some bigger minutes.”
Both players expressed their appreciation to the Vees on Twitter.
“I would like to thank the @PentictonVees for the opportunity!,” wrote Ferguson, who had one assist in 12 games. “That being said I’m extremely happy to be joining the @SASilverbacks.”
“Thank you to @PentictonVees for such a great experience. Very excited to join @SASilverbacks this season,” wrote Anderson, who had three assists in 18 games.
SilverBacks GM Troy Mick said he’s very pleased with the deal that gives his club size and youth.
“Evan is a big, gritty forward with a nose for the net and the ability to put up numbers,” said Mick in a release. “Here in Salmon Arm he will see more ice-time and we’re excited to have him here.”
On Ferguson, Mick thinks the ‘Backs might have found a diamond in the rough.
“We see Mitch as a blue-chip offensive prospect, it’s going to be exciting to watch him grow and contribute with our strong group of defensemen.”
Balson, 19, was in his second stint with the Silverbacks, posting two goals and eight points in nine games. In 2011-2012 he split time with the SilverBacks, amassing 10 goals and 20 points in 20 games before joining the Kamloops Blazers of the Western Hockey League. In 42 games for the Blazers, he collected three goals and six points. In 2010-11 he played 48 games with the Prince Albert Raiders.
“I’m pretty excited about it,” said the six-foot-one, 200-pound forward of joining the Vees. “Coming to a winning organization that has a pretty good tradition.”
Balson said it was tough leaving the SilverBacks because they did a lot for him last year giving him a place to play and helping him return to the Blazers. Balson, who will wear #28 with the Vees, feels he can provide offence.
“I can’t wait for weekend to start,” said Balson, who arrived less than two hours before practice on Wednesday. “Two tough teams in Merritt (Friday) and Chilliwack (Saturday).”
Vees forward Sam Mellor said he likes the addition of Balson because of his strength. “I think that’s what we needed but we lost two really good guys and the boys will miss them,” said Mellor.
The Vees also announced the signing of defenceman Brayden Park, 16. An affiliate player from the Osoyoos Coyotes, he debuted with the Vees last Saturday against Chilliwack. “Brayden is a hard-nosed defenseman who brings a physical element that we wanted on our back end,” said Harbinson.
The wait will be short for the players to face their former teams, Salmon Arm visits Penticton Nov. 16.