Monday, January 9, 2012

Latrell Charleson Added to Spruce Kings Roster

In Monday's edition of the Prince George Citizen, Sheri Lamb has an excellent article on this past weekend's roster change. I have posted the entire article here and added a picture taken by Les Gagnon of LG Photography to ensure that everybody has a chance to read it. Thanks to Sheri and the Prince George Citizen for your coverage of this and other Spruce Kings related stories ...

Latrell Charleson will stand out on the Prince George Spruce Kings' blueline.

The six-foot-four, 220-pound 16 year old signed with the Kings after competing in his final game Sunday with the Valley West Hawks of the B.C. Major Midget League.

"Last year I learned a lot from my [Hawks] coaches especially playing with a lot of the older guys," said Charleson. "I'm looking forward to jumping up even higher now, playing at a faster pace and learning more."

Charleson led the Hawks defencemen in goals with seven this season and added seven assists in 23 games. He played in three British Columbia Hockey League games with the Kings as an affiliate player, including a pair of wins over the Westside Warriors last week, which extended the team's win streak to four. He also suited up for the Kings in a pre-Christmas game in Chilliwack.

Jesse Leung, Hawks assistant coach, said the team is going to miss the big defenceman.

"You can't replace a player like Latrell," said Leung. "All you've got to do is look at the faces of his teammates to know the impact he has - he's irreplaceable. He'll be missed."

Kings general manager Mike Hawes said it's nice to know Charleson had as good an impact off the ice as he did on it with the Hawks.

"It's good to know that Latrell is going to be missed," said Hawes.

"He did well within the peer group here with his midget team and we expect that he's going to get along well with all our players and be an easy transition for him.

"He's a very physical player and has some great size," added the Kings' GM. "He's going to come in and provide that physical presence for us on the back end. He's young so it's going to be a steep learning curve for him, but he's definitely going to be a good player for us in the next few years."

At the same time the Kings were welcoming Charleson to the fold, they said goodbye to 16-year-old forward Michael Klonarakis.

The rookie parted ways with the Kings after Friday's 5-2 win over the Warriors and will head back to his midget club, Pursuit of Excellence in Kelowna to finish the season. In 30 games with the Kings, Klonarakis had one goal, four assists and four penalty minutes.

"It was just a situation where Michael needed some more playing time to get his confidence back up and as we move down to the last one-third of our season here Michael's playing time probably would've been a little bit less," said Hawes. "For his development it's a good fit for him right now."

Klonarakis' departure frees up a second spot at forward and with the BCHL trade deadline on Tuesday, Hawes expects to fill those roster spots soon.

"Yes, there will be some moves before Tuesday for sure," said Hawes. "The phone's been ringing off the hook and I've been communicating with lots of different teams. I definitely anticipate there being some roster moves."

The Kings (19-13-2-3) have an important weekend ahead as they try to catch the Merritt Centennials (21-10-2-5) for second place in the Interior Conference with games in Chilliwack, Penticton and Vernon from Friday to Sunday. Prince George has posted a pair of wins over the Chiefs (19-14-0-2) in their last two trips to Chilliwack, while Penticton leads the league and Vernon is always dangerous.

"Those are the types of challenges I want our group to go through," said Hawes. "It's going to be a really good test for us and a good gage to see where we're at going up against the No. 1 team in the league."

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