Defenceman Andrew Gates is one of the players added to the Leafs roster last week at the KIJHL trade deadline. Photo: Tyler Harper

Leafs add 2 players at KIJHL trade deadline

Nelson also traded defenceman Tyson Soobotin to Castlegar

The Nelson Leafs roster is set after the team signed two players and traded away a defenceman ahead of the KIJHL’s trade deadline last week.

Nelson picked up defenceman Andrew Gates and forward Shawn Grobowsky while shipping defenceman Tyson Soobotin to the Castlegar Rebels for roster space.

Gates, 19, started the year with the Melville Millionaires in the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League. Leafs head coach Mario DiBella said the Millionaires released Gates but let the Leafs know he was available.

“I have a good relationship with the team, who my son used to play for,” said DiBella. “I was talking to the coaching staff and they suggested he would be a perfect fit for a Junior B environment.”

Nelson also added 19-year-old Grobowsky, who had four goals and six assists through 30 games with the Golden Rockets this season.

DiBella said a dispute between Grobowsky and the Rockets led to his release, paving the way for him to join the Leafs.

“He’s an energy kid. He’s a team player first. He’s a right wing, plays centre, outstanding penalty killer. He works real hard.”

The Leafs cleared up a needed roster spot by shipping Soobotin to Castlegar. Soobotin, 18, had two goals and four assists in 34 games with Nelson this season.

DiBella said he regretted parting with Soobotin.

“We were just pleased we were able to give him somewhere else to play in the league. He’s an outstanding kid. He worked with the hockey academy here. He was the first guy to help out or volunteer with any team activity. He’s just a real great kid.”

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