The Nelson Leafs lose some real strength on the back end as local boy Cole Arcuri heads to the BCHL this week.
Arcuri got the call from Powell River Kings Tuesday and the Leafs defenseman will take his skills to the west coast.
“Cole’s a skilled defenseman, obviously. He’s a big kid and a good player,” said Leafs assistant coach Sean Dooley.
The 17-year-old Nelson native stands at 6’1” weighing 170 lbs. He’s in his third season with the Leafs with a career total of 39 points. So far this season he’s scored four goals and has a total 24 points.
Arcuri will play out the rest of the season with Powell River who is making a run for the playoffs. The Kings sit in second place behind Victoria in the Island Division.
It is expected Arcuri will play with his new team this weekend as they take on Salmon Arm on Friday and Nanaimo on Saturday on home ice.
“We wish Cole all the best and hope he does very well,” said Dooley. “Ultimately your goal as a hockey coach is to move kids on to a higher level and that’s what he’s doing. Even if it affects the team, that’s hockey.”
Arcuri is the Leafs second player to get called up to the BCHL this season. Leading scorer Jamie Vlanich played a few games with the Langley Rivermen before returning to the Leafs in early November.
Now, the Leafs are down some strength on the blue line and with the roster deadline Friday, they’re scrambling to replace their defenseman.
“We didn’t really expect to lose Cole but at these deadlines, anything can happen at the Junior A level,” said Dooley. “Cole was a big part of our team. He’s a good player and he was doing really well this year for us. We’ve got a fill a big void but there’s always someone out there and we’re doing our best to track someone down and get them in the lineup.”
Nelson is sitting back atop the KIJHL with a one-point lead over division rivals Beaver Valley.
The Leafs play the Rebels in Castlegar on Friday and take on Spokane Braves at home on Saturday. Puck drops at 7 p.m.