Amherst CIBC Wood Gundy Ramblers made a big splash on the first day of the 2021 trade period.
Amherst traded player development fees to the Trenton Golden Hawkes of the OJHL for 20-year-old Griffen Fox, and Marko Jakovljevic.
Ramblers GM Jeff LeBlanc said the Ramblers added major junior experience at the defence position and arguably one of the best 20-year-old two way Ontario Junior Hockey League forwards.
“We’ve watched a lot of video on both players. The big thing that jumps out for us is they play playoff-type hockey. They are both very hard to play against and that fits in well with our team speed and grit.”
Leblanc says due to Covid-19 and the possibilities of Ontario junior leagues shutting downplayed a part in the trade.
“The first thing both young men said to me when meeting them at the airport (from a distance) was thank you for giving us the opportunity to play hockey games again. The excitement in their voices got me fired up, to be honest. You could instantly tell they’ve waited a long time to play in real competition again and are itching to get going.”
Both players had a leadership role with Trenton, with Fox serving as their captain. Griffen played the last two seasons with Trenton. In 57 games last year he totalled over a point per game and finished with 63.
“Griffen is a big, smart, two-way player that you can see takes great pride in his own end. The things he does away from the puck reminds me a lot of another centre we currently have with high hockey IQ. Griffen always seems to be in the right place making the right plays. Add his compete level and we think we got a very good two-way centre.”
Marko Jakovljevic played the last three seasons with the Sarnia Sting of the OHL. In 143 games he had 3 goals and 17 assists for 20 points and 148 penalty minutes.
“It’s an old cliché but Marko plays the game the right way. He’s your prototypical big, strong, stay at home OHL Dman that gets pucks out of his own end. He adds another big body veteran presents to an already big and mobile Dcore. Excited to see him on Rambler ice.” Leblanc added.
Both players were able to arrive just after Christmas and are currently self-isolating for 14 days. They will be finished isolation in time for the Ramblers next game.