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

Toronto Police ID Nelson man as naked shark tank jumper

David Weaver, 37, is wanted on mischief and assault charges

LETTER: Beware those towing the party line

Reader Bob Malcolmson questions CORE

Michelle Mungall’s baby first in B.C. legislature chamber

B.C. energy minister praises support of staff, fellow MLAs

‘Police are ready’ for legal pot, say Canadian chiefs

But Canadians won’t see major policing changes as pot becomes legal

Leafs Roundup: Nelson goes 3-for-3

Leafs beat Creston Valley, Osoyoos and Spokane

VIDEO: Monday Roundup!

Elections stuff, youth homelessness, WEED!

Defence cautions against mob justice in Calgary child neglect trial

Jennifer and Jeromie Clark of Calgary have pleaded not guilty to criminal negligence causing death

Feds eyeing options to expedite pardons for minor pot convictions

Internal discussions have focused on an application-based process for speeding up pot pardons

U.S. pot firms urge Trump to dominate North American marijuana industry

Cannabis producers claim the U.S. is “rapidly losing” its competitive advantage to Canada

Battle resumes over speculation tax on B.C. vacant homes

Opposition calls it ‘fake’ tax that is reducing housing supply

Around the BCHL: Merritt, Chilliwack and Coquitlam early-season surprises

Around the BCHL is a look at what’s going on in the league and throughout the junior A world.

Federal government tables bill to transform prisoner segregation

Administrative and disciplinary segregation will be eliminated by Ottawa

CFL expecting little to no impact from legalization of marijuana in Canada

The league tests only for performance-enhancing substances and not recreational drugs like cannabis

Most Read