The Prince George Spruce Kings lost one forward but gained another.
The Spruce Kings announced Tuesday that Tanner Fjellstrom has left the hockey club so he can devote more time to his education. Meanwhile, the Kings added to their roster David Stephens, who had been playing for the Moncton Wildcats of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League.
Fjellstrom, an 18-year-old local product, skated with the B.C. Hockey League's Kings for parts of three seasons. He was an affiliate player in 2010-11 and 2011-12 and committed to the team on a full-time basis for this season. Unfortunately, a nagging ankle injury limited his playing time and effectiveness.
"Tanner came in and saw me [Monday] morning after our road trip and mentioned that he'd like to start focusing on school," said general manager Mike Hawes. "It was his decision to leave the team. I was happy with Tanner -- he's a great kid and a local guy and we had plans to keep him here and develop him but he thought it was best for him to move on and just focus on his school."
Fjellstrom, captain of the major-midget Cariboo Cougars last season, is a first-year student at UNBC.
Stephens, another ex-Cariboo Cat, played a dozen games for the Wildcats this season and had two assists. He was sidelined for about a month because of a knee problem but Hawes said he's now at full health.
"He and I talked and he made the decision to leave Moncton and wanted to come here and play," Hawes said. "I couldn't pass up that opportunity. David is a very good player who's going to come in and add some more depth for us up front."
The 19-year-old Stephens is a five-foot-10, 190-pound centreman from Whitehorse. He spent the 2010-11 and 2011-12 seasons with the Edmonton Oil Kings of the Western Hockey League and recorded one goal and three points in 32 games.
Stephens, who was also a captain of the Cariboo Cougars, has tremendous wheels and is shifty on his skates.
"With his speed and his offensive instincts he's going to be able to put up some numbers for us," Hawes said. "At the same time he's very good defensively and responsible that way so he's going to be a good all-around player for us."
Stephens is expected to be in the lineup when the Spruce Kings visit the Chilliwack Chiefs and Coquitlam Express on Friday and Saturday respectively.
The Kings are coming off a three-game road trip in which they lost to Powell River and Nanaimo by 2-0 scores and beat Alberni Valley 2-1. They are 18-12-1-5 on the season, good for third place in the BCHL's Mainland Division.
Hawes will be looking to make some more roster tweaks in advance of Thursday's trade deadline.
"There are things cooking, absolutely," he said. "I've been on the phone quite a bit [Tuesday] and anticipate being on the phone quite a bit in the next couple days. There's nothing definite yet but lots of talk."