Lakers trade Jourdain

Dan Falloon

Fort Frances Lakers’ head coach and GM Wayne Strachan was busy off the ice yesterday, making three transactions.
First, the local Junior ‘A’ club dealt forward Mike Jourdain to the expansion Duluth Clydesdales in exchange for forward Dan Smith.
The 20-year-old Smith, a Duluth native, is a former Fort Frances Jr. Sabre, having played with the team in 2008-09, recording five goals and two assists in 13 games.
“I think he can come in and play a top-six role,” Strachan said of Smith.
“He’s a strong skater, power forward kind of player, and I think he’ll fit in nicely on the right side of Byron Katapaytuk.
“We’re happy to have Dan back in a Fort Frances jersey and on our team,” Strachan added.
Smith is expected to join the Lakers for Saturday’s home game against the Thunder Bay North Stars.
Jourdain, meanwhile, hadn’t played with the Lakers since Oct. 1.
The 20-year-old local had recorded one assist in five games before leaving the team.
Meanwhile, the Lakers released forwards Ryin Allison and Brad Bienvenu.
Allison, 19, had a goal and an assist in eight games with the Lakers since being signed last month.
Bienvenu, 20, recorded a goal and an assist in 14 games since being acquired from Sioux Lookout in exchange for Jake Wentz back on Oct. 14.
The Lakers now have 23 players on their roster, meaning they have two open slots available up until the Jan. 10 trade deadline.
Strachan said the players were looser after the cuts were made after the cutdown deadline seemed to loom on the minds of at least a few.
“Today in practice, there was just a little more ease and the guys were a little more focused,” he observed late this morning.
“Hopefully, we’re ready to get back in action tomorrow night.”
The Lakers visit the cellar-dwelling Sioux Lookout Flyers on Friday.
Fort Frances will remain busy over the weekend as they return home to host the North Stars on Saturday.
The “toy toss” in support of the local Salvation Army and United Native Friendship Centre, originally scheduled for Tuesday night’s game against Dryden that ended up being postponed due to poor road conditions, now will happen on Saturday.
The Lakers’ fan club also will hold a bake sale during the game.