With the BCHL trade deadline looming at 8 p.m. on Jan. 10, the Cents’ brain trust made two major player moves to address the team’s present and future needs.

Nineteen-year-old forward Gavin Gould was shipped to the Island-division-leading Nanaimo Clippers in exchange for 1997-born forward Zach Court and future considerations.

In addition, 20-year-old forward Ryan Forbes was sent to the first-place Chilliwack Chiefs of the Mainland conference for forward Ryan Roseboom, 19, and futures.

What the future considerations in both deadline deals will be remains a secret, but especially in light of Gould’s stats, the payback is sure to be significant.

The five-foot, eight-inch, 155-pound Gould, from North Vancouver, was in his third season with the Centennials since making the club as a 17-year-old in 2013.

Standings to Jan. 12.

Standings to Jan. 12.

The fleet-footed winger with the substantial ‘wow’ factor has racked up the numbers during his time in the league, scoring 61 goals and adding 83 assists for 144 points in 161 regular-season and playoff games.

At the time of his departure, Gould was sitting second in team scoring, and 10th league-wide with 22 goals and 29 assists for 51 points in just 38 games. He has an NCAA Div. 1 scholarship to Michigan Tech starting in September of this year.

This was Forbes’s first season in a Cents’ uniform following two full BCHL campaigns with the Nanaimo Clippers. The Terrace native has played a total of 184 games in the league, amassing 44 points (16 goals, 28 assist) in total.

The six-foot, 190-pound Forbes is more noted for his gritty, bruising style of play. He has accumulated 200 penalty minutes over two and a half seasons.

The five-foot, 10-inch, 180-pound Court hails from Winnipeg, and is in his first BCHL season. In 33 games, he has scored eight goals and added eight assists for 16 points.

Last season, Court played for the Cedar Rapids RoughRiders of the USHL. He has earned a scholarship to the University of Nebraska-Omaha.

Roseboom’s hometown is Terrace. In 2014-15, he played with the Osoyoos Coyotes of the KIJHL before cracking the Chilliwack line-up at the beginning of this season. The six-foot, 185-pounder had six goals and five assists for 11 points in just 25 games with the Chiefs.

Merritt head coach and GM Joe Martin said that it wasn’t easy trading either Gould or Forbes, as both players were a huge part of this year’s team, and both wore assistant’s letters as part of the Cents’ leadership group.

“The reason for the Forbes trade is that I believe we have other players in our line-up who can fill the same role, and perhaps are being held back a little bit in their development. Brett Jewell is an example.

“In Roseboom, we’re getting another player who is ‘Forbesque’ in style and also has another year to play in this league.”

Martin went on to say that Chilliwack was looking for an experienced checker, and it is where Forbes’s family now calls home.

In the case of Gould, Martin said the team had to consider that they would be losing him at the end of this season. Getting a good player in return who will play another year for Merritt factored into the decision.

“More importantly, Court can and will play centre, which will allow us to move Nick Jermaine back to his natural position on left wing. That’s huge.

“With both trades, we don’t lose traction, but we gain in age,” Martin said.

Asked if Merritt’s current position in the Interior division standings (last, six points behind both Vernon and Trail with 16 games remaining) was a consideration, Martin said, “Absolutely not. There’s 32 points out there up for grabs, and we have every intention of playing hard for all of them.”

The Cents missed out on drawing to within two points of Vernon on Saturday in a 6-3 loss to the Vipers in Merritt.

The Cents played well against the Snakes, but the visitors played better and were full value for the win. They got an outstanding performance from back-up Brendan Barry in net, as the former Penticton Vee stopped 36 of 39 shots, including two breakaways.

At the other end of the ice, Vernon forwards were more than efficient in finding the twine behind Merritt starter Cole Kehler a total of six times on 33 shots.

Leading the scoring parade for the Vipers was Jimmy Lambert with two goals and assist, while Hunter Zandee, Joe Sacco, Brett Stapley and Riley Brandt netted one apiece. Team points-leader Odeen Tufto had three assists.

Cents players had their chances all night long, but only Vernon-native Brett Jewell (with two) and Forbes could beat the solid Barry between the pipes.

The loss to the Vipers was a bitterly disappointing setback for a Merritt team that had gone into West Kelowna the night before and upset the Warriors 4-2 on their home ice.

Merritt scorers in West Kelowna were Mitch Lipon with a pair, Nick Fiorentino, and Colin Grannary into an empty net.

Kehler, the first-star of the game, put in an outstanding performance, turning aside 44 pucks as his team was outshot 46-33.

Up next for the Centennials is a trio of challenging matchups, beginning Friday when the league-leading Vees come to town.

Saturday, Merritt makes the long trip to Wenatchee, Wash. for their first look at the BCHL’s newest franchise.

Next Tuesday, the Cents travel to Salmon Arm for a date with the Silverbacks — the only team to have beaten the Vees on multiple occasions this season.

Friday’s puck drop at home takes place at 7:30 p.m.