Looking to spark his team’s struggling offence, Victoria Grizzlies GM and head coach Craig Didmon swung a trade with the perennial B.C. Hockey League powerhouse and current Interior Division-leading Penticton Vees on Tuesday.
Coming to Victoria is 19-year-old forward Vincent Nardone, and heading to Penticton is fellow 19-year-old and second-year Grizzlies forward Darwin Lakoduk.
Nardone, who has an NCAA scholarship to the University of Nebraska-Omaha for the fall of 2021, has eight points in 22 games with the Vees. He has done most of his damage playing on the third line with the talent-loaded team, who have 16 players committed to NCAA schools.
“Vincent is a real skilled kid, with a scholarship, who wasn’t really getting top-six minutes on a really deep Penticton team. So he’s excited to come here and get a more offensive role, and we really think he’ll thrive here,” said Didmon, whose team will look to snap a seven-game losing skid on Friday night when they host the Nanaimo Clippers at The Q Centre.
The 5-foot-10, 180-pound Nardone, from Rosemère, Que., spent last season in the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League with the Flin Flon Bombers, where he collected 17 goals and 22 assists in 56 regular-season games.
He added another two goals and an assist in nine playoff games for the Bombers.
Nardone, expected to be in the Grizzlies’ lineup Friday against the Clippers, scored against Victoria when the Vees beat the Grizzlies 4-1 on Nov. 2 at The Q Centre.
“He’s got a good nose for the net and we’re going to give him a chance to use those offensive skills,” Didmon said.
Lakoduk recorded seven points in 25 games with the Grizzlies this season. The Edmonton product had 12 points in 47 games last season for Victoria.