Matt Kowalski is coming home.
The Vernon Vipers have acquired Vernon Minor Hockey product Kowalski from the West Kelowna Warriors in a B.C. Hockey League trade.
Going across the Bennett Bridge to the Warriors is defenceman Austin Chorney.
Kowalski, 19, comes to the Vipers after a solid start to the 2018-19 season. The five-foot-11, 165-pound forward has five goals and eight assists in 19 games with the Warriors.
Kowalski was in his second season with West Kelowna after being acquired from the Nanaimo Clippers following the 2016-17 season. His first season in the Okanagan was plagued with injuries, but still managed 7-7-14 in 24 games.
“It’s never easy to make a trade, but an opportunity to acquire a talent player who comes from Vernon came up and his skill set will fit in nicely with this group,” said Vipers head coach and general manager Mark Ferner.
Chorney, and 18-year-old Abbotsford product, is in his third full season in the league and his first with the Vipers. He was acquired in the off-season from the Salmon Arm Silverbacks. Chorney had 1-2-3 in 17 games with the Vipers, and 10 penalty minutes.
“Austin was great for us,” said Ferner. “Did everything we asked of him and did it very well. We feel this will be a good fit not only for each team, but for the individual players as well.”
Kowalski is expected to make his debut this week.
The sixth-place Vipers (8-7-6-2) visit the seventh-place Trail Smoke Eaters (8-10-4-2) tonight (Wednesday) and take on the Warriors (15-8-0-1) in West Kelowna Friday.
Next home game for Vernon is a Sunday afternoon affair with the Victoria Grizzlies at 2 p.m. at Kal Tire Place.