Michigan University recruit Finlay Williams is no longer a member of thePrince George Spruce Kings.
On Monday the Kings announced they’ve traded the 17-year-old forward to the Penticton Vees for future considerations.
Williams, a native of North Vancouver, joined the Spruce Kings two springs ago from the Burnaby Winter Club and played 40 games with the team last season, collecting 11 goals and 20 assists. He wore the Kings’ crown in 12 B.C. Hockey League playoff games over two seasons, including four he played in 2020, and in those 12 games he contributed two goals and one assist.
Williams, a highly-touted NCAA Division 1 college hockey prospect, was expected to be a big part of the Spruce Kings’ future for at least one more season and general manager Mike Hawes did not want to part with him, but Wiliams made it known through his agent he wanted a trade to the Vees.
“It’s unfortunate, for sure,” said Hawes. “Shortly after the season ended for us, Fin’s advisor gave me a shout and let me know he was hoping we could make a move for him to play in Penticton next season. It was obviously a surprise to me and the rest of the organization based on the fact we had provided Fin a pretty good opportunity here in Prince George.
“As a 15-year-old he played a lot of games for us in that long playoff run we had and he was a big part of the success we had and we put him in a real good situation in what was a rebuild year for us last season. Fin was in a leadership role and played a lot of minutes for us in a lot of situations so it was certainly disappointed to hear from his advisor that they wanted to go to Penticton.
“The reason for him asking is Fin is largely focused on the NHL draft coming up for him and he just felt the best chance for him getting drafted as high as he could would be in Penticton because the Vees are hosting the national championship, the Centennial Cup.”
Prior to joining the Kings in 2018-19, Williams was a prolific scorer with the Burnaby Winter Club and he had 42 points in 32 games in the Canadian Sports School Hockey League. He served as captain of the B.C. team at the Canada Winter Games in Red Deer in 2019.
“Fin’s a great kid and I wish him nothing but success, but to be honest, a player needs to let me know once that he doesn’t want to be here,” said Hawes. “The way the program has evolved over the last several years, we’ve got a long list of players waiting and hoping to play in the organization because we do things the right way. We need players who are 100 per cent committed to the program.”
Hawes would not divulge details of the future considerations the Spruce Kings will receive in the deal or when that would be but said there were players identified in the trade.
“The future considerations is going to be significant once we announce that,” he said. “I think our fans are going to be happy with the deal. It was a long work in progress that we were able to get the deal done.”