The Grande Prairie Storm made two deals at the 2019 CJHL trade deadline that sent brothers, Cruz and Walker Côté to opposite parts of Western Canada.
The departure of the Falher natives marks the end of and era with the Côté family and the Storm organization.
Walker and Cruz have spent six seasons playing Grande Prairie Storm hockey, dating back to their time in Bantam and Midget levels. Together, they played four seasons at the Junior A level.
Playing on separate teams will be an adjustment for the brothers, but the bigger adjustment will come for parents Darren and Lise Côté, who have had sons playing Storm hockey for over a decade.
Eldest brother Taylor Côté played six years of Storm hockey and four years at the Junior A level. He went on to become Captain of the Storm during the 2012-2013 season.
Commenting on the trade, Taylor says “I think that it’s been a very emotional few days for our entire family, this team has been a big part of our lives for the last decade. Walker and Cruz were committed, hardworking players that loved this community and always thought they would finish their careers with the Storm.”
Forward Cruz heads farther west to Duncan, BC. He was traded to the Penticton Vees of the BCHL, then later traded to the Cowichan Valley Capitals as part of another deal.
Walker will have a new home farther east in the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League, where he’ll lend his defensive skills to the Nipawin Hawks.
As the brothers pack their bags and drive in opposite directions from the family home, mother, Lise reflects on the families’ time with the Storm over the years.
She sent the following in an email to EverythingGP:
“Darren and I are extremely grateful to the Storm Board, their extended hockey family and especially the loyal fans. From a young age our boys were drawn to play for Storm. Taylor was 10 when my parents brought him to watch the RBC games in Grande Prairie. Cruz was 9 when Taylor was trying out, he free hand painted a giant storm logo in Taylor’s room. Walker had hip surgery in March of his last year of midget and worked extremely hard to crack the team that September. (He was told after surgery he wouldn’t skate for a year). They grew from teenagers to men while playing in GP. Each one of my boys would tattoo the storm logo in a heartbeat. Like every story there’s another chapter to write.”
That chapter begins right away, as both brothers will be in action with their respective teams this weekend.
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