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Silverbacks Gain Experience After Trades with AJHL’s Oil Barons; Pontiacs

Salmon Arm, B.C. — The Salmon Arm Silverbacks announced today the acquisition of veteran defenceman Noah Lugli and 20-year-old forward Zach Russell after the completion of separate trades with the Alberta Junior Hockey League’s Bonnyville Pontiacs and Fort McMurray Oil Barons.

The Silverbacks received Lugli, a towering 6-foot-5 defenceman, from the Pontiacs in exchange for forwards Hudson Schandor and Tyson Gayfer.

The club acquired the CJHL playing rights of Russell from the Oil Barons in exchange for recently acquired forward Michael Hodge, who was sent to Salmon Arm last week in a separate three-team trade with the Alberni Valley Bulldogs and Merritt Centennials. In order to acquire Hodge from the Bulldogs, the Silverbacks sent defenceman Olson Werenka to the Centennials, who sent Jackson Munro to Alberni Valley.

“These moves were made in an effort to bring in two veteran players with proven track records and significant playoff experience,” Silverbacks head coach and general manager Scott Atkinson sad. “We gave up three very good players to acquire two very good players who will help us in specific areas of need. Schandor and Gayfer are both high character individuals and accomplished players who will be missed, but I think fans will like what Russell and Lugli bring to the table. They are also high character people who play a very hard brand of hockey.”

Lugli recorded 17 points last season in 57 games for Bonnyville, while adding 178 penalty minutes, which ranked seventh in the AJHL. The Toronto, Ont. native split time in 2017-18 between the North American Hockey League’s Minnesota Magicians and the Ontario Junior Hockey League’s Wellington Dukes, where he won both the Frank L. Buckland Trophy as league champions and the Dudley Hewitt Cup as Central Canadian Junior A champs.

Russell, a bulky forward from Calgary, Alta. brings Western Hockey League experience with him, as he suited up in 29 games last season for the Edmonton Oil Kings. Russell tallied six points in those 29 regular season games and added three more in seven playoff contests. In the 2017-18 season, Russell spent most of his time in the AJHL with the Calgary Canucks, where he scored 16 goals and added 20 assists for 36 points in 43 games. He also added 212 penalty minutes, which ranked fourth in the AJHL.

The Silverbacks would like to thank Schandor, Gayfer and Werenka for their service and dedication to the team and wish them every success in their future endeavours.