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Winds of change gusting for Cranbrook Bucks

The Cranbrook Bucks have made a series of deals since the BCHL’s holiday break began in mid-December, perhaps none bigger than January 10th’s news of longtime Buck Luke Pfoh being dealt to the Merritt Centennials in exchange for forwards Patrick Murphy and Tyler Wishart.

Bucks head coach and general manager Ryan Donald concedes he is sad to see Pfoh go, but is excited for the team’s new acquisitions.

“I would like to thank Luke for his time in Cranbrook and all of his contributions to the growth of our organization over the past three seasons,” Donald says. “While it is always difficult to see players leave our program, we do believe that this move has improved our hockey club for the remainder of the 2023-24 season and beyond. While sad to see a piece of our organization leaving, we are excited about what we have been able to add to our current roster as we continue to push for a championship this season.”

Pfoh joined the Bucks for the 2021-22 season, and has suited up for 122 games in his career in Cranbrook – second most in team history behind Jarrod Smith.

His 63 career points place him fifth on the Bucks all-time list.

One of the players obtained from Merritt, Tyler Wishart, earns praise from Donald for his offensive potential.

“Tyler is an experienced player that we have been familiar with for a few years and believe he has the ability to create offense, play inside the game and contribute in all three zones,” the Cranbrook coach explains.

Wishart, born in 2004 and a native of Pound Ridge, New York, has 11 points through 17 games with Merritt this season, and he spent the 2022-23 season with the Nanaimo Clippers.

Murphy comes to the Bucks after previously being traded to Merritt earlier in the week, he has spent the entirety of his ice time this season with the Victoria Grizzlies where the 2005-born forward added 9 points through 23 games.

“Patrick is a young player that has the ability to be dangerous from anywhere in the offensive zone, and is just scratching the surface of his ability at the BCHL level,” says Donald.

Meanwhile, goaltender Danick Leroux has alerted the Bucks that he will spend the remainder of the season in the NAHL.

Donald supports his decision and wishes him well.

“Danick was a terrific teammate and absolute professional.  We are understanding of his decision to pursue a different opportunity for the remainder of the season, and wish him the best of luck in his future.”

These moves follow the signing of Notre Dame commit Bobby Bartell from the NAHL’s Springfield Jr. Blues.

Bartell has already suited up for 5 games since joining the Bucks following the holiday break, Donald looks forward to helping the youngster to develop ahead of his NCAA career.

“We believe Bobby can impact our hockey club quickly with his work ethic and competitiveness, as well as his ability to create offence in hard areas of the ice.”

Meanwhile, an earlier move saw longtime Buck Jaxon Fuder dealt to the Powell River Kings.


Fuder joined the Bucks in the 2022-23 season, he spent 54 games with the Bucks and picked up 20 points.

Cranbrook acquired the BCHL playing rights to forward Noah Eyre in the trade, Eyre left Powell River earlier this season to play in the USHL.

– Article includes photos supplied by Martin Ross, social media link from Cranbrook Bucks