EVERETT — The Everett Silvertips have added a defenseman and lost a coach.
A busy weekend saw Everett undergo some turnover as the Tips traded for defenseman Jacob Hoffrogge from the Brandon Wheat Kings, then bid farewell to associate coach Louis Mass, who stepped down to become an assistant coach in the San Jose Sharks’ minor-league system.
Everett acquired Hoffrogge, a right-shot defender heading into his 19-year-old season, Friday night in exchange for a seventh-round pick in the 2024 prospects draft.
Hoffrogge, who resides in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, and has dual U.S./Canadian citizenship, measures 5-foot-11 and 155 pounds. Brandon originally selected him in the second round of the 2018 prospects draft. Last season, his first as a WHL regular, he appeared in 62 games with the Wheat Kings, registering nine assists.
“I thought we needed to identify a more veteran player,” said Everett general manager Dennis Williams, citing the possibility of losing anywhere from two to five defensemen from last season’s team. “We feel Jacob will do a real good job of being a 200-foot defenseman for us who can defend well, and we’ll see where he falls with regards to the power play and penalty kill. Mike (Fraser, Everett’s assistant general manager) had a lot of viewings, and we know (Hoffrogge’s) character is high and his compete is high. Those are two intangibles we put a lot of priority on and we want to make sure we build around those types of players.”
This is the second straight year the Tips have traded for a smallish right-handed defenseman from Brandon, following last offseason’s acquisition of Jonny Lambos from the Wheat Kings. Lambos has aged out of the league after filling one of Everett’s three overage spots last season.
Hoffrogge’s acquisition also serves as a hedge against Everett losing star defenseman Olen Zellweger. Zellweger, who was named the WHL Defenseman of the Year last season after piling up 78 points in 55 games, should theoretically be back as a 19-year-old. However, Zellweger is a candidate to earn a roster spot with the NHL’s Anaheim Ducks.
Meanwhile, Mass’s departure was announced Monday. A college teammate of Williams’ at Bowling Green State University, Mass spent four seasons as part of Everett’s coaching staff, the first three as an assistant and then his final season as associate coach. Mass was responsible for running the defenses on Tips teams that claimed U.S. Division championships in 2018-19, 2021 and 2021-22 while being one of the league’s hardest to score against. He also ran Everett’s bench last season while Williams was helping coach Canada’s team at the World Junior Hockey Championships.
Mass will serve as an assistant coach with San Jose’s American Hockey League affiliate, the San Jose Barracuda.
“Obviously I’m ecstatic for Louis,” Williams said, “He’s a great coach and one of my best friends. I know it wasn’t easy for him to make that decision, I know how much his heart and passion went into developing the players here in Everett. But at the same time it’s everyone’s goal when they come to the WHL to go to the highest level possible, and it’s a great opportunity to go to the American League and do the same thing he was doing here, which is developing defensemen.”
Williams said he’s still determining how to fill Mass’ spot on the coaching staff, but did say he planned on bringing in another assistant. Mass’ departure leaves Dean DeSilva, who worked primarily with Everett’s forwards last season, as the only assistant coach currently on staff.