Heading into the December 1, 2019 deadline for reducing the available player cards, the Nanaimo Clippers went searching for a high level offensive threat to add to an already strong team sitting at the top of the Island Division and third overall in the BCHL.
The Clippers completed a three way trade with the Humboldt Broncos of the SJHL and the Burlington Cougars of the OJHL. Heading to Humboldt is Cade Cavallini, a rookie 2000 born forward with the Clippers who has been in and out of the lineup due to a series of injuries. The Clippers add Evan Benwell and the Cougars receive future considerations.
Benwell is a veteran of the OJHL playing in 101 games scoring 32 goals and adding 42 assists for 74 points. He comes out of various leagues in the Toronto area where in the GTHL he had 70 points in 75 games and in the GTMMHL, he had 48 points in 66 games. In 2017, after his spectacular performance at the Telus Cup (Major Midget Nationals), he was a 1st round draft pick (16th overall) in the OHL (Major Junior) U18 draft but decided instead to come to Junior A and pursue an NCAA Division I scholarship.
Darren Naylor, head coach and GM of the Nanaimo Clippers commented; “Evan Benwell is well known to us and has been on our radar for some time as a high level offensive threat who is going to put up points in this league. When he became available, we jumped on the situation to improve our offensive thrust. I’m sad to see Cade Cavallini go but we had to make this difficult decision to improve our offense heading into the second half of the season. Humboldt is getting a hard working skilled player in Cade.”
Colin Birkas, Associate Coach of the Clippers, said; ”Benwell is well known to me as I coached in the OJHL. He’s going to be an impact player in the BCHL as he’s one of the players in the OJHL that I thought would be ideally suited for the fast pace league we are in out West. I’m very optimistic he’s going to provide a much-needed boost to our offence for the second half of the season.”