Trail Smoke Eaters trade former Nitehawk Blake Sidoni

The Trail Smoke Eaters announced on Friday that the team traded home-grown talent Blake Sidoni to the Virden Oil Capitals of the Manitoba Junior Hockey League (MJHL) in exchange for future considerations.

The 20-year-old Sidoni has spent parts of two seasons in Trail with the Smoke Eaters after signing with the club following his play with the Beaver Valley Nitehawks of the KIJHL. The six-foot, 185-pound forward registered two goals and 10 assists for 12 points along with 16 penalty minutes in 44 games played with the Smoke Eaters. This season, Sidoni tallied a goal and two assists for three points in 15 games played.

“It’s extremely difficult to lose Blake Sidoni from our dressing room this week,” Smoke Eaters head coach and GM Jeff Tambellini said in a release. “I was so impressed with the work he put in this off-season and his willingness to do anything to help the Trail Smoke Eaters win.”

It came down to a numbers game for the Smoke Eaters. With the return of 20-year-old Spencer McLean from injury, it left the Smokies with seven 20-year-old players, exceeding the BCHL regulation of six.

“You’re building a roster with restriction all throughout the roster,” Tambellini told the Trail Times. “With Blake, he’s one of my favourite guys I’ve coached … He’s an offensive guy and can play on both sides of the puck, but he needs to play in a role where people get to see the type of player he is, and I was happy that the team in Manitoba kept reaching out, because they liked the player and they want him to play a big role.”

The Trail native joined the Smokies halfway through last season, after playing two and half seasons with the Nitehawks. Sidoni scored 38 goals and added 62 assists for 100 points in 121 games with Beaver Valley. He was also a key member in the Nitehawks run to the KIJHL championship and Cyclone Taylor Cup win in 2016-17.

“This move allows Blake to play a major role for a top franchise in Virden and will provide him the best opportunity to gain a university scholarship for next season,” added Tambellini. “Blake Sidoni will always be a Trail Smoke Eater and everyone in our organization wishes him nothing but great success.”

The 2-7-1-4 Oil Capitals are currently in 10th place in the 11-team MJHL and in dire need of a player with Sidoni’s skill-set and character. Virden is off to a slow start after finishing in second place in the MJHL last season, behind the ANAVET Cup winning Steinbach Pistons.

A press release from Virden management stated: “Blake is a character guy who will be a leader in our dressing room. He has extensive playoff experience both in Trail and Beaver Valley previously. Blake is looking forward to being here and we think he will be a valuable piece here moving forward, helping bring some more depth to our forward group.”

Trail’s 20-year-old players include goaltender Adam Marcoux, defencemen Jeremy Smith, Kyle Chernenkoff, and Trevor Zins, and forwards Braeden Tuck and McLean.