Nelson Junior Leafs rookie forward Colton McCarthy — seen here stuffing away one of his 21 goals this season — was called up to play for the Moose Jaw Warriors for the remainder of the season.

McCarthy says goodbye to Nelson Leafs

Junior Leafs rookie phenom Colton McCarthy gets the call from Moose Jaw Warriors and is off to the WHL.

It’s a victory that won’t show up in the statistics for the Nelson Junior Leafs at the end of the season. In fact, it is a victory that comes with a bit of a sting.

On Saturday night, 16-year-old rookie sensation Colton McCarthy played his last game of the season for the Leafs. The Salmon Arm native has been permanently called up to the Western Hockey League’s Moose Jaw Warriors.

“As an organization we are pretty excited to move a player from Junior B to the Western Hockey League at this point of the season,” said Leafs head coach Frank Maida.

The Kootenay International Junior Hockey League is a development league and the goal is to do exactly what the Leafs did with McCarthy: move them on to bigger things. The jump from Junior B to Major Junior is rare, but McCarthy’s play over the first half of the season turned more than a few heads.

“When he went up for those four AP games earlier this season [in early November], they obviously liked what they saw,” said Maida. “I guess they are changing their direction and called him up for the remainder of the year.”

With his 21st goal of the season Saturday night against Kimberley, McCarthy leads the Leafs in goals. At the point of his exit, the young forward is second on the team in scoring (31 points) and 19th in the league.

“It’s hard to watch a player develop for a half a season, you kind of get attached,” said Maida. “He is a big part of our team, but it is a great opportunity for him.”

Maida has been behind the bench of several levels of hockey over the years. The veteran bench boss said McCarthy is the real deal.

“He has a bright future,” said Maida. “He is a kid who works hard off the ice and on the ice. He really loves to play hockey, wants that puck on his stick, he is a very determined kid.”

And though Maida and the Leafs are happy to see one of their own make a huge leap forward in his hockey career, the team knows his loss will be felt in the dressing room and on the ice. But Maida said everyone remains positive.

“Our players are excited for him,” said Maida. “And this creates opportunities for other players to step up.”

One of the players who will likely miss McCarthy the most is captain Colton Schell who has really clicked with the young forward so far this season on the team’s top line.

“I spoke with Colton [Schell] and he is very happy for him,” said Maida. “Colton Schell and [and linemate] Boyczuk were very good mentors for Colton McCarthy, they helped bring him along and should be very proud of what they have done to help develop him as a player in the last couple months.”

McCarthy left for Moose Jaw Sunday. He is expected to be in the line-up when the Warrirors take on the Saskatoon Blades this Wednesday.

The Warriors currently sit third in the Eastern Conference’s East Division.


Just Posted

Nelson, Salmo councils decline to contribute to preservation of Cottonwood forest

The decisions have effectively stalled negotiations between the RDCK and the landowner, Kootenay Land Corporation

KBRH on watch for bed bugs after two recent cases

Spokesperson Mandy Lowery says there has not been a bed bug sighting at KBRH since Dec. 8

Avalanche Canada issues special public warning

Very weak layer buried under recent snow a cause for concern

Coffee card donations return at Wait’s News

The program supplied over 200 cards last year

Trafalgar students build home for sanctuary horse

Grade 8 students collaborated on a project with a local farm sanctuary

VIDEO: Royals reveal the images on their Christmas cards

Prince William and his wife Kate are shown outside in casual clothes, their three young children in tow

Media, robotics, Indigenous studies coming to B.C. Grade 12 classrooms in 2019-20

Provincial tests are also being changed for students in Grade 10 to 12, the Education Ministry said

ICBC to apply for 6.3% hike to basic insurance rates

Crown Corporation said it will be submitting its next basic rate application to the British Columbia Utilities Commission Friday

Stranded B.C. trucker writes final wishes before being rescued 3 days later

‘I was just praying someone would come along’

Canfor Corp. extending temporary curtailment of sawmills in B.C.; cutting hours

Vancouver-based company says the decision is due to declining lumber prices, high log costs and log supply constraints

Canada’s prospective world junior team members await final roster decisions

Thirty-four players were invited to the national junior selection camp

Final phase of Kelowna hospital cardiac centre completed

Finishing new recovery rooms marks completion of $381 million project

Family searching for B.C. professor last seen at Colombian salsa club

Ramazan Gencay, a professor in economics at Simon Fraser University, was last seen in Medellin

Rash of bomb threats a learning opportunity for response capacity, Goodale

Thursday’s wave of bomb threats swept across communities on both sides of the Canada-U.S. border

Most Read