The Castlegar Rebels line up at their season-opener in September.                                 (Photo Rebels Facebook)

The Castlegar Rebels line up at their season-opener in September. (Photo Rebels Facebook)

Rebels beef up blueline as trade deadline closes

Tyson Soobotin, 18, was playing for the Nelson Leafs, and Elijah Havers, 17, joins the team from the Coyotes in Osooyoos

The Castlegar Rebels bolstered their defensive lineup before KIJHL rosters were frozen on Jan. 10.

The Rebs picked up two players in what team president Mike Johnstone called a “quiet” trade deadline for the team.

“We were running lean on our roster and had a couple of cards available, so we ended up picking up a couple of young defencemen from two teams that had to cut down their rosters,” Johnstone said.

“We think in the next few years they’ll be a big addition for us.”

Tapped to join the Rebels were Tyson Soobotin, 18. He’s originally from Grand Forks but was playing for the Nelson Leafs. He’s joined by Elijah Havers, 17, a Kaslo native who was playing for the Coyotes in Osooyoos.

The Leafs’ head coach said they’d miss Soobotin.

“We were just pleased we were able to give him somewhere else to play in the league,” said Mario DiBella. “He’s an outstanding kid. He worked with the hockey academy here. He was the first guy to help out or volunteer with any team activity. He’s just a real great kid.”

Johnstone said the Rebels didn’t head into the trade deadline looking specifically for defencemen.

“It just kind of happened these two guys fell into our lap, and when the opportunity came up we jumped at it,” he said.

“It puts us a little high in our defensive numbers — eight instead of seven — but we have guys back there who can step up and play forward if we run into issues up front, so we thought it was a worthwhile risk.”

Johnstone said the Rebels’ big job now is to get a trio of injured players back into the lineup.

In the basement of the Neil Murdoch division at 11-23-1, the Rebels have been hurt this year by an off-season coaching shakeup and injuries.

“The return of the injured guys will make a big difference for us,” Johnstone said.

There are 12 games left in the regular season.