Heat loan Wahl to Hamilton Bulldogs

The Abbotsford Heat loaned Mitch Wahl to the Hamilton Bulldogs on Thursday.

Mitch Wahl

At this point last season, Mitch Wahl was regarded as an indispensable cog in the Abbotsford Heat forward corps.

On Thursday, the 21-year-old centre from Seal Beach, Calif. was loaned to the Hamilton Bulldogs for the balance of the season.

At first glance, it’s an eyebrow-raising transaction, given Wahl’s status as a second-round draft pick by the Calgary Flames in 2008. But it reflects the Heat’s vastly superior depth this season, and the amount of ground Wahl has to cover as he comes back from head injuries which cost him most of the 2010-11 campaign.

Last year, as a rookie on the youngest team in the league, Wahl was Abbotsford’s first-line centre on opening night. This year, with newcomers like Ben Walter and Paul Byron (currently on recall with the Calgary Flames) in the fold and returnee Greg Nemisz seeing a lot more time in the middle, top-six forward minutes have been comparatively difficult to come by.

Heat head coach Troy Ward said that Flames management wanted to ensure Wahl got consistent playing time at the AHL level.

“It’s a new place for the Abbotsford Heat, relative to the last few years,” Ward noted. “Our situation has changed dynamically, with the fact that we’ve had some older players who have come in and complimented the younger players. With all those moves in the off-season, it became tougher for Mitch to get ice time.”

Wahl has been shaking off rust this fall after missing all but 17 games last season. He sustained facial fractures and a concussion in a game against the Manitoba Moose on Nov. 27, 2010, courtesy of a devastating open-ice check from Aaron Volpatti.

Wahl did a stint with the ECHL’s Utah Grizzlies, notching five goals and two assists in five games. In five games with the Heat, he did not register a point while posting a -2 rating.

Ward said the loan to the Bulldogs isn’t intended as a negative statement on Wahl’s stock as a prospect.

“The coaching staff here believes in Mitch, and I think the NHL (management) group believes in Mitch,” he said.

DOWLING RECALLED, MACMILLAN RE-ASSIGNED

The Heat made two other transactions on Thursday, as forward Justin Dowling was recalled from the ECHL’s Utah Grizzlies and Logan MacMillan was re-assigned to take his place in Utah.

MacMillan had one assist and a -2 rating in seven games with the Heat, while Dowling has been a consistent offensive producer in Utah with 11 points (two goals, nine assists) in 12 games.

“We’ve tried to reward the guys who have good attitudes and good work ethics down there,” Ward noted. “We’re still making a lot of decisions as to who’s playing in what situations, and I think the management group has done an outstanding job of shuffling guys around, and letting us look at different guys.”

ROAD WARRIORS KEEP ON TRUCKING

The Heat wrap up a seven-game road trip – their longest of the season – with a three-games-in-three-nights stretch this weekend. They take on the Oklahoma City Barons on Friday and Saturday, then face the Houston Aeros on Sunday.

The Heat are looking to build on a terrific 9-1-0-0 road record.

“We’re really just worried about the process right now, we’re not worried about the outcome,” Ward asserted. “Along the way, we’ve been able to have some success. We’ve found some comfort on the road, traveling together as a group of people, and we’ll just keep plugging along.”

The Heat’s next home games are Nov. 25 and 27, when they host the Rampage at the Abbotsford Entertainment and Sports Centre.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Comments are closed

Just Posted

Arrest at Abbotsford shopping centre

Man detained Thursday afternoon

Two Chilliwack women make weekly Crime Stoppers most wanted list

Ashley Felix and Raina McDonald wanted on unrelated issues

United Way grant provides food to 100 former prisoners, families

Abbotsford-based M2/W2 Association receives $25,000 to supply groceries

Kilby Park in Harrison Mills under water

Area is often subject to flooding, Historic Site will remain open through the summer

Foundry Abbotsford celebrates two years of service

Agency provides support to youth ages 12 to 24 and their families

All community COVID-19 outbreaks declared over in B.C.

Abbotsford manufacturer cleared by Dr. Bonnie Henry

B.C. First Nations vow to keep fighting after Trans Mountain pipeline appeal denied

Squamish Nation, Tsleil-Waututh Nation and Coldwater Indian Band made the application

‘Queue jumpers’ not welcome in B.C. as COVID-19 U.S. cases rise: Horgan

Premier Horgan said he’s heard concerns that Americans have stopped at Vancouver hotels instead of heading to their destination

Police arsenal deployed to avoid potentially violent situation: Mounties

Langley RCMP arrest armed Vancouver man after Tasering him on side street

US officer resigns after photos, connected to death of black man in 2019, surface

Elijah McClain died, last summer, after police placed him in a chokehold

Black worker files discrimination complaint against Facebook

Oscar Veneszee, Jr. has worked as an operations program manager at Facebook since 2017

Ottawa jail inmates argue anti-COVID measures a breach of charter rights

The prisoners allege guards did not wear masks until April 25

Nestle Canada selling bottled water business to local family-owned company

The Pure Life bottled water business is being sold to Ice River Springs

Most Read