There has been plenty of speculation this off-season about where Dan Correale will play this coming season. He spent some time last season with the Prince George Spruce Kings before being sent back down to Major Midget by the Spruce Kings. Earlier this off-season the Express acquired his rights in a 3 way trade involving Burnaby, Nanaimo and Prince George.
In the meantime, the defending AJHL champion Grande Prairie Storm believed they had signed him. The Storm believed he was a free agent after being sent down to Major Midget by Prince George. That set off a conflict about who had Correale's Junior A rights. Burnaby or Grande Prairie.
Well, I did some digging today and learned that Correale is property of the Burnaby Express and will hit the ice with the Express when camp opens in a few weeks.
I spoke with BCHL Commissioner John Grisdale today. He told me that Correale is property of the Express.
Correale was placed on a special protected list when he was sent down by Prince George last season. Therefore still property of the Spruce Kings when the season ended. Then when Correale was part of the 3 team trade involving, Burnaby, Nanaimo and Prince George, his Junior A rights were transferred to the Express.
Contrary to what some believe, he was never a free agent to sign with another Junior "A" club. The BCHL, AJHL and Hockey Canada all recognize and enforce that Correale's rights belong to the Express.
Meanwhile, when I spoke with Express Head Coach Dave Mclellan earlier this summer, he indicated to me that John Digness may not return to the Express for the 09-10 season. Well it's official now that he will not be back. Digness has decided to move on with his life. He has enrolled in school at SAIT in Alberta in an engineering program.
Digness was acquired by the Express at the trade deadline last season in a deal that saw Mike Leidl and Cam Brodie head to Vernon. Digness made an immediate impact upon coming to the Express, putting up 20 points in 16 games. He was expected to be a key part of the re-built Express for this coming season. This obviously leaves a hole upfront for the Express as camp approaches.
I went to the Express office today to speak with the Head Coach and Director of Hockey Operations Dave Mclellan to comment on Correale and the loss of Digness.
Hear from Dave Mclellan here.