“I guess every time you get traded it’s a bit of a shock…I kind of thought it might happen, whether it was sooner or later.”
When 19-year-old defenceman Ben Sellars woke up the morning of Sept. 13, he found out that he was moving three hours west.
He had received a phone call from his advisor, who’d told him to pack his bags. His team, the Nepean Raiders, had sent him to the OJHL’s Cobourg Cougars for a player development fee (PDF), which equates to a sum of money placed on a player’s perceived value.
The soft-spoken teen is no stranger to hearing his name in the hockey rumour mill: Cobourg is his fourth team in the past two years. In 2015-16, his AAA year, he was an affiliated player for the OJHL’s Lindsay Muskies.
He’s been traded before. Nepean acquired him just last year in a trade from the Carleton Place Canadians, packaged with current Raider Tyler Orban.
This time, negotiations were quick.
On Sept. 12, Sellars had been placed on HockeyTech’s RinkNet WIRE, a website that Canadian junior teams use to shop and market players. He’d been made available to teams in both the CCHL and OJHL.
By the next morning, Sellars was a Cougar.
“The very first team that called me was Cobourg who were super excited he was on the wire,” says Randy Watt, Nepean’s GM. “They saw him fitting into their top four with some power-play and penalty kill time and they made a good hockey deal for me. Those are things I like to hear because it means I’m moving the player to a good spot.”
While Nepean asked for a forward initially, Watt and new Cobourg GM Adam Yahn eventually reached a settlement involving the PDF going the other way.
In parts of two seasons with the Raiders, Sellars had seen his share of games from the stands. In 43 total games, he’d produced four points and 14 penalty minutes.
“Being a 19-year-old in-and-out of the lineup is not good for him especially when he’s trying to make it to the next level,” explains Watt. “One of the things we always try to do is the right thing for the player but still responsible for the organization.”
Those within the Raiders’ organization say they are saddened to hear their friend, teammate and “second son” is moving on.
Image courtesy of Bob Lefebvre