CORNER BROOK This past Saturday, Brandon Hynes was traded during the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League draft.
His team for the past four years, the Victoriaville Tigres, sent him to the Acadie-Bathurst Titan in exchange for two second-round picks and a fifth-rounder.
Historically, an off-season deal doesn't pay immediate dividends for anybody, but Hynes' Corner Brook Molson Men's Ball Hockey League team Sumptin' Fishy at the Gate enjoyed whatever motivation the Norris Point native was drawing upon during their Tuesday night encounter with the Red Rock Bullets at the Kinsmen Arena II.
Hynes scored four times and set up another as the fishermen blasted the Bullets 8-2.
Jeremy Bishop provided one goal in the win, while Josh Smith, Daniel Smith and Luke Pilgrim also lit the lamp.
Zack Greene and Brian Park put up the goals for the Bullets.
In no way is Hynes upset at being traded by Victoriaville, the team that drafted him. He understands the business of hockey as well as anyone at this point, and with his ambitions of turning pro next season, the Tigres weren't in a position to be able to risk losing him for nothing.
The Titan decided to take the chance at uniting Hynes with fellow Newfoundlander Zach O'Brien. The two tore up the Newfoundland and Labrador Major Midget Hockey League a few years back as the respective stars of their teams, Hynes with Western and O'Brien with St. John's, and now could potentially play together as a couple of the top offensive stars in the league.
"I can't think of a better way to end my career in the Q," said Hynes following his ball hockey game on Tuesday.
Playing professionally is still his main goal and now that the Stanley Cup has finally be handed out, the off-season wheels will begin turning faster and faster as the NHL draft approaches on June 22-23. Once the draft ends, the door is open for Hynes to sign a professional contract.
"I'd be lying if I said I didn't think about it," he said. "You never know what could happen, even if nothing does happen.
"The draft will be the turning point."
Last summer was Hynes' first in the local ball hockey league and the off-season competition agreed with him, as he went on to have his best QMJHL season to date, with 86 points (42G-44A) in 61 games.
"It brings the competitive side back and keeps it there all year round," Hynes said. "At first I thought it would just be fun, but once I got into it I realized how seriously people took it.
"It's almost like having a summer team and a winter team," he added.
Hynes and Jeremy Bishop, arguably the most talented ball hockey player in the region, were supposed to form a formidable duo together this season for the fishermen —not entirely unlike what the Titan are trying to do with Hynes and O'Brien — but things just weren't clicking as well as they'd hoped in three previous games so far.
They went off on Tuesday, combining for nine points between them.
"The first few games, we were wondering if it was really what it was supposed to be because the chemistry wasn't there, but tonight was a breakout game for everybody," said Hynes. "It seemed every play we made ended up in the net.
"I'd never played with him before," he added. "But I heard a lot of good things."
The loss was the fourth in as many games for the Bullets, who couldn't be blamed if they decided to stand around and watch the show. But anybody who has ever watched them play knows that's not how they roll.
"They're a hard-working team, they're always running and always on you," Hynes said. "You have to work your hardest against them, no matter what your skill level is."
The following is a summary of the other league game on Tuesday night:
South Shore Luxury Limos Rangers 4, Oceanex 1
Corey Russell, Robbie Greene, Glen Staples and Steve Simms scored to lift South Shore to the win.
Kristian Kavli responded for the ocean crew.
Darren Buckle outdueled Dave King in the nets. Buckle would wind up pulling double duty, as a fill-in goalie for the Bullets later in the evening in place of the absent Rick Lushman.
The fishermen and South Shore remained tied for first in the standings at 3-0-1, while the ocean crew fall to 2-2-0. The Bullets are 0-4-0 so far.