I spoke to Itan Chavira on the phone during the Reign’s 3-2 loss to the Utah Grizzlies on Wednesday night. He says he’s been released from his contract, but will stay with the Reign until Sunday when the team flies back to Ontario.
Chavira’s release comes as no surprise – the Reign added Jon Rheault and Maxime Boisclair to the roster the previous two days. Rheault was signed by the Reign but had spent the season in the American Hockey League when injuries hit the Kings’ AHL affiliate in Manchester, N.H. Boisclair was acquired in a trade from Charlotte of the ECHL for the rights to John Adams on Monday. Both Rheault and Boisclair are more experienced forwards than Chavira and probably more skilled all-around players.
But it was a feel-good story while it lasted for Chavira, who just turned 21 on Sunday. He grew up in West Covina, now lives with his parents in Upland, and had been yearning for the chance to play at home after trading in his roller blades for hockey skates full-time just two years ago. He was the team’s first hero, electrifying Center Ice Arena by scoring the winning shootout goal with a flourish, in the Reign’s first game of the preseason. And he got into his first and only regular-season game Saturday against Phoenix, this time at CBBA. He looked out of place at times, but at least he got his chance. It probably won’t be Chavira’s last pro hockey game, but it will be interesting to see where he goes from here.
As for the Utah game, goals by Brad Mehalko and Tim Kraus weren’t enough to give the win to goalie Jeff Zatkoff, who stopped 34 of 37 shots. More details in tomorrow’s editions.
Some other transactions: Jon Francisco was activated from the 3-day IR. Left wing Ryan MacGregor was placed on 3-day IR, forward Mike Howe was placed on the 7-day IR and defenseman Ryan Card was moved to the 30-day IR.