Vancouver Giants give up winger Ethan Semeniuk to land D-man Marek Howell from Moose Jaw Warriors

Howell, 17, was one of four Warriors players suspended for the remainder of the regular season by the league office last February for an off-ice incident.

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The Vancouver Giants parted with some of the draft pick capital they had amassed Friday to help their defence.

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Vancouver acquired 17-year-old rearguard Marek Howell from the Moose Jaw Warriors, along with a 2024 WHL Draft fourth-round selection, in exchange for 18-year-old forward Ethan Semeniuk, a 2024 first rounder, a 2024 fifth rounder and a 2025 second rounder.

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Through various trades, the Giants had seven first rounders over the next three drafts. They received 2024, 2025 and 2026 first rounders from the Winnipeg Ice in the Zack Ostapchuk swap alone last season.

The 6-foot-2, 192-pound, left-shot Howell was a first-round pick of the Warriors in 2021, going No. 16 overall.

Howell was one of four Moose Jaw players — along with  Connor Ungar, Max Wanner and Lynden Lakovic — who were suspended in February by the league for the remainder of the regular season following completion of an independent investigation into violations of team rules and WHL Standard of Conduct policies.

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Howell missed the final 17 games of the regular season. He was reinstated for the playoffs, as were his teammates.

The incident in question occurred while on a road trip to Edmonton. According to a WHL press release, “though the conduct of the players was not found to be criminal in nature, the conduct was determined to be a violation of team and league rules including the WHL Standard of Conduct policies, as outlined in the WHL Personal Conduct Policy.” The players were required to complete further personal conduct and respect training.

Specific details were never released.

Giants general manager Barclay Parneta said that the Giants checked into Howell, and Parneta has “no concerns with his character.”

The Calgary product played in the World Under-17 Hockey Challenge last season. He had one goal and four points in 44 regular season games with the Warriors.  Parneta lists Howell as a “good puck-moving D, with a good stick and a physicality to his game.”

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Dylan Anderson likely led Vancouver defencemen in ice time and he graduated from the league at the end of the season. Mazden Leslie was likely next in line with playing time and he turned 18 in April.

Howell should see top-four minutes next season for Vancouver. Age wise, he fits in with the idea that Vancouver is on an upward trend the next two or three years.

Semeniuk had 12 goals and 22 points in 54 regular season games. He did see top-six minutes, at times, with Vancouver.

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