Bucs make blockbuster deals

The Nanaimo Buccaneers acquired two high-profile local forwards, Zach Funk and Nick Gomerich, from junior A teams.

The Nanaimo Buccaneers didn’t plan to be active on the trade market, but they ended up making a major shakeup.

The city’s Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League club sent top goal scorer Will McNamara and defenceman Thor Rosback to the Campbell River Storm on Monday, then turned around and acquired two high-profile local forwards from junior A teams.

Joining the Bucs are forwards Zach Funk and Nick Gomerich, as well as forward Jonah Pearson from the Oceanside Generals, Quinlan Moore from the Comox Valley Glacier Kings and Joe Gage from the Storm. The Bucs also traded away blueliner Josiah Nadon to the Kerry Park Islanders.

“We weren’t throwing in the towel by moving McNamara and Thor,” said Glen Smith, Bucs general manager. “That’s what it looked like originally, but there were some underlying things there.”

Gomerich played in the WHL last season and had been with the B.C. Hockey League’s Powell River Kings this year, while Funk had been with the Alberni Valley Bulldogs the past two and a half seasons.

“We’re expecting quite a bit of offence from those two,” Smith said.

He said “you won’t find a better team guy” than Funk, who is strong, skilled and gritty, has very good speed on the outside and can play centre or wing.

Gomerich has a “very high skill set,” Smith said.

“He skates well, he’s capable of putting up big numbers,” the GM said. “A skilled player, smart, so it’s all up to Nick.”

Pearson was Oceanside’s third-leading scorer with 17 points at the time of the trade, Moore is a towering blueliner and a former Buccaneer who will help the power play, and Gage is a smooth-skating D-man with a lot of upside.

“We wish [our former players] well, but the overall strength of our team has improved,” Smith said.

GAME ON … All the new Bucs are expected to be in the lineup Thursday (Dec. 4) against the Comox Valley Glacier Kings at 7:15 p.m. at the Nanaimo Ice Centre.