Cougars Acquire Pair of Defencemen from Prince Albert

The Prince George Cougars Hockey Club has acquired defencemen Rhett Rhinehart (01) and Austin Crossley (99) and a first-round pick in the 2018 WHL Bantam Draft from the Prince Albert Raiders, General Manager Todd Harkins announced Saturday.

In exchange, the Cougars have sent forward Kody McDonald (98) and a conditional fourth-round pick in the 2018 WHL Bantam Draft to the Raiders.

“Kody grew up in Prince George and blossomed into to an elite power-forward in the WHL,” said General Manager Todd Harkins. “Our entire organization wishes him all the best in his future with the Raiders.”

McDonald has spent his entire four-year WHL career in Prince George, playing in 232 career regular season games, amassing 60 goals and 126 points, to go along with 369 penalty-minutes. This season, the 19-year-old was second in team scoring with 36 points in 35 games and his 19 goals not only was a team-best but a new career high.

The Lethbridge, Alberta, product has played in 15 career playoff games, compiling three goals and seven points. McDonald was a second-round pick, 24th overall, in the 2013 WHL Bantam Draft.

“Rhett was one of the top defenceman in his Bantam Draft year, given his unique blend of size and skill. We’re thrilled to add an elite level defenceman like him, that NHL scouts are already zeroing in on. He will be a staple on our blue-line for years to come,” said Harkins.

16-year-old Rhett Rhinehart was the Raiders first-round-pick, 13th overall, in the 2016 WHL Bantam Draft. In 31 games on the Raiders blue-line, the rookie defenceman had one assist to go along with 16 penalty-minutes.

The 6’3, right-shot defenceman, played last season at the Yale Hockey Academy at the Midget Prep, level in Canadian Sport School Hockey League (CSSHL), and led all defencemen in the league in scoring, with 30 points (9-21-30) in 25 games. In his Bantam draft year, Rhinehart had five goals and 18 points in 30 games split between the Yale Bantam Prep and Elite 15s teams.

“Austin brings a welcomed combination of size and grit to our team and he’ll fit in perfectly on our back end,” said Harkins. “His experience and ruggedness will complement our younger blue-line nicely.”

Austin Crossley is going to play a whole lot closer to home. The Fort St. John, BC, native was in his second season with the Raiders, after splitting last season between Prince Albert and the Nanaimo Clippers in the BC Hockey League (BCHL). This season, in 19 games, the 6’1.5, 202-lb rear-guard had four assists and 38 penalty-minutes whilst patrolling the Raiders blue-line.

Crossley signed with the Raiders in November 2016, after playing 25-games with the Clippers, picking up a goal and an assist. In 30 games with the Raiders last season, the stay-at-home defenceman chipped in with a goal and two points and had 47 penalty-minutes.

The Cougars are back in action tonight against the Tri-City Americans, in their back half of their weekend doubleheader. The Cougars are coming off a 4-3 win Friday and are looking for the weekend sweep. Tickets are available at the TicketsNorth box office, or online at

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