Cory Babichuk and a draft pick come to the Warriors for Chase Stevenson.                                -Image: Garrett James/BCHL

Cory Babichuk and a draft pick come to the Warriors for Chase Stevenson. -Image: Garrett James/BCHL

Warriors deal Stevenson to land veteran D-man

West Kelowna has acquired defenseman Cory Babichuk from the Surrey Eagles.

The West Kelowna Warriors have bolstered their blue line for the upcoming BCHL season by acquiring defenseman Cory Babichuk from the Surrey Eagles.

In exchange, the Warriors—who also receive a draft pick—sent forward Chase Stevenson to Surrey.

Babichuk, 19, comes to the Warriors after splitting last season between the Eagles and the Central Illinois Flying Aces of the United States Hockey League (USHL). Beginning the season in south of the border, Babichuk had two assists in eight games played before making his way back to Surrey, where he spent the 2016-17 season. The 5-foot-10, 175-pound defender had a goal and eight assists for nine points in 18 games with the Eagles while earning an assist in two playoff games.

The Edmonton native had a strong rookie season on the backend for the Eagles in 2016/17 as he scored six goals and added 25 assists for 31 points in 47 games. Babichuk earned recognition from Hockey Canada as he was named to the Team Canada West selection camp for the World Junior A Challenge while playing in the CJHL Top Prospects Game in 2018 in Cornwall, Ontario for Team West. Babichuk has also secured his college hockey future as he will play at the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institution (RPI).

“Acquiring an elite defenseman is not easy, especially at this time of the year,” Warriors head coach and GM Rylan Ferster said. “We feel we added a player who skates very well with a great amount of skill and brings plenty of experience to our blue line.”

Stevenson, 19, played the last two seasons with the Warriors, appearing in 73 regular season games while scoring 22 goals and 21 assists for 43 points. The West Kelowna native scored two goals and three assists for five points in eight playoff games and has secured a commitment to the University of New Hampshire for the 2019-20 season.

The 2018-19 regular season schedule has been released with West Kelowna opening their season with a home-and-home against the Trail Smoke Eaters on Friday, Sept. 7. The home opener for the Warriors is Saturday, Sept. 8 thwhen they host the Smoke Eaters.

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