Hitmen load up with top scorer

SCOTT FISHER, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:25 AM ET

Joel Broda took the express elevator from the outhouse to the penthouse.

The top-ranked Calgary Hitmen acquired the WHL's top sniper last night in a deal with the Eastern Conference cellar-dwelling Moose Jaw Warriors.

Hitmen GM Kelly Kisio shipped 18-year-old centre Brendan Rowinski and two bantam draft picks (second- and seventh-rounders in 2009) to the Warriors for Broda, 19, and Czech import Tomas Karpov, 19.

"I'm really excited," Broda said on his way to the Regina airport. "Calgary has a great team, and I hope I can help them continue their success.

"I'm excited to be on a team that has a chance to go all the way."

Broda said he wasn't caught completely off guard by the deal because Moose Jaw is in a rebuilding process.

"Even when you know that it could happen, it still hits you pretty hard," said Broda, who leads the WHL with a career-high 36 goals.

"Just like that, you're going from one team to another.

"There were lots of rumours going around, but I tried not to focus on it at all."

The Washington Capitals fifth-rounder did a pretty good job of ignoring the potential distraction, putting up nine goals and 11 points in four games last week.

His efforts earned the Prince Albert, Sask., product CHL player-of-the-week honours.

When he joins the Hitmen at today's practice, he'll be playing in front of the CHL's goaltender of the week, Martin Jones.

Kisio was relieved to pull off a major deal ahead of tomorrow's WHL trade deadline.

"We really tried," Kisio said. "We were working on it, and it came together after a lot of grinding. We're obviously very excited about it.

"We had to give up a very good hockey player to get two good players," Kisio said.

"But that's the price you have to pay to win the Memorial Cup."

Broda played with Hitmen Brett Sonne and Brandon Kozun during the Canada-Russia ADT Challenge.

He also skated with defenceman Keith Seabrook at Capitals camp, and he knows injured winger Kyle Bortis and d-man Alex Plante.

"There's lots of guys I will recognize and hang out with," Broda said.

Rowinski, who had 12 goals and 31 points in 33 games, said it was difficult to learn he would be leaving the country's top-ranked club.

"Absolutely, but it's tougher to leave all your best friends, teammates and coaches," Rowinski said.

"I'm sad to leave this organization. But I'm excited to go to Moose Jaw and try to help them down the stretch and next year, when they should be one of the top teams."

The Winnipeg product will join former Hitmen teammate Ian Duval, who was dealt to the Warriors three months ago.

Earlier in the day, Kisio shipped 18-year-old right-winger Ryan Fox to the Kootenay Ice for left-winger Kris Foucault, 18.

Foucault, a Calgary product, had one assist in four games for the Ice before he joined the AJHL's Canmore Eagles. He put up 18 goals and 41 points in 32 games with the Eagles.

The 6-foot, 190-pounder has four assists in 40 career WHL games with the Ice and Swift Current Broncos.

The Hitmen play in Cranbrook tomorrow night before returning to the 'Dome Sunday to take on the Broncos (5 p.m., Fan 960).


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