Ilijah Colina (left) and Connor Bowie (right) | Courtesy Prince George Cougars

The Prince George Cougars beat the 2pm WHL trade deadline today by dealing 19-year-old defenceman Dennis Cholowski and the rights to Vernon Vipers goalie Ty Taylor (’99) to the Portland Winterhawks.

“Dennis is a great kid, who came in here this season and blew us away with his character and leadership qualities,” said General Manager Todd Harkins in a team news release.

“He’s one of the most exciting players to watch in our league and he’s getting a great opportunity in Portland.”

In return, Prince George receives a first-round pick in 2020, second-round picks in 2018 and 2019, a third-rounder in 2020, and a conditional sixth in 2019; as well as players Ilijah Colina (’00), Connor Bowie (’01).

Cholowski has 39 points (13 goals) in 37 games and is a team best plus nine.

The Cougars named Cholowski the 23rd Captain in franchise history on November 21st, in his first season with Prince George.

“Dennis is a very special player and already carries himself like a pro,” Head Coach Richard Matvichuk praises the former Cougars captain in a team news release.

“His attitude and commitment to his team and teammates is second to none and I can’t wait to see him in the NHL with Detroit.”

The 6’1, 200 pound native of Langley was the Detroit Red Wings’ first pick, 20th overall, in the 2016 NHL Draft.

Cholowski attended Canada’s world junior selection camp last month but was among the cuts.

“I really enjoyed my time with such a first-class organization,” said Cholowski in a team news release.

“From the coaches, front office, my teammates to the community, it’s been a fantastic experience and an honour to be the Captain. I’ll cherish my time in Prince George and the lasting memories I made here.”

Colina has 15 points (three goals) in 37 games with Portland this season.

“Ilijah is a very dynamic, skilled centreman, who’s tenacious on both sides of the puck,” said Harkins of the 17-year-old, in a team news release.

“He’s got great vision, a natural play-maker and someone we’ve watched for quite some time and he’s always been near the top of his age group.”

Bowie has split time with the Cariboo Cougars and NEBC Yukon Trackers, scoring one goal in four games with the Cougars and racking up 35 points (20 goals) in 18 games with NEBC.

“Connor has the prototypical power-forward makeup and is a centreman and has shown to be a proven goal-scorer at the Bantam and Midget levels,” explained Harkins in a team news release on the prospect forward.

“We believe he can make an impact at this level, playing down the middle”

This was the Cougars sixth deal since January 1st.

– With files from Matt Fetinko