Thursday, 5 May 2011

Wheat Kings Select Dozen at WHL Bantam Draft


As expected, the Calgary Hitmen chose F Jake Virtanen with the first overall pick in the 2011 WHL Bantam Draft today.

Virtanen is a 5-foot-11, 164 pound forward from Abbotsford, B.C.

Wawanesa product Jordan Thomson didn't have to wait long to find out where his WHL career will begin, being selecting fourth overall by the Kamloops Blazers.

"I was just sitting there, looking at the TV and hoping my name would get called and it did," says Thomson, "I jumped out of the chair and it was just awesome.  My whole family is here today, so it was good to see their reaction too."

"Everyone was saying around 7 - 10 and I went fourth, so it was great," adds Thomson, "Definitely going to learn some more about the (Blazers' organization).  I can't wait."

Going fourth overall makes Thomson the highest Western Manitoba player selected in the Bantam Draft since Chris Nielson went #1 overall to Calgary in 1995.

Kord Pankewicz
Meanwhile, the Brandon Wheat Kings ended up making 12 selections in the draft and were Alberta heavy, selecting eight players from Wild Rose Country and the other four from Manitoba.

Position wise, Brandon chose eight forwards, three defencemen and one goaltender.

The Wheat Kings stepped to the podium for the first time at #11 overall and chose defenceman Kord Pankewicz.

Pankewicz is a 5-foot-11, 170 pound blueliner from Drayton Valley, Alberta who had 22 goals and 48 points in 33 games with Leduc of the AMBHL this past season.

"Good size, strong player, really skilled, hard shot and has great poise with the puck and can really control the game from the defensive position," Wheat Kings' GM Kelly McCrimmon told me in a brief interview after the first round, "We think he's going to be a real good player."

With their second pick of the first round, #22 overall, Brandon chose Edmonton goaltender Jordan Papirny.

Jordan Papirny
Papirny stands 5-foot-10 and 140 pounds.  He was 14-2-2 with a 1.81 GAA and .918 SPCT with the SSAC Lions of the AMBHL this past season.

"Jordan Papirny, we felt, was the top goaltender in the draft and there's a point that if you want the best goaltender, you have to step up and take him," says McCrimmon, "He had that ability with the second first round pick."

Papirny was the co-Top Goaltender of the AMBHL this past season.

He's the first goaltender to ever be chosen by Brandon in the first round of the WHL Bantam Draft.


Other Brandon Picks:

- Brandon selected Roblin product Jayce Hawryluk in the second round of the WHL Bantam Draft, #32 overall.  Hawryluk is a 5-foot-8, 150 pound forward who had 138 goals and 264 points in 54 games with the Russell Rams last season.

- F John Quenneville was chosen by Brandon in the third round of the WHL Bantam Draft, #54 overall. The 6-foot-0, 180 pound Quenneville had 35 goals and 75 points in 33 games with the SSAC Lions of the AMBHL this past season.

- Brandon's fourth round pick, #77 overall, is Selkirk product Dallas Starodub. The 6-foot-0, 160 pound forward had 28 goals and 56 points in 30 games with the Winnipeg Hawks of the Winnipeg AAA Hockey League Bantam Division One last season.

- With their first of three picks in the fifth round, #94 overall, the Wheat Kings grabbed Brandon product Brett Kitt. The 6-foot-0, 175 pound Kitt had 16 goals and 28 points in 28 games with the Brandon Bantam AA Wheat Kings last season.

- at #96 overall, Brandon selected 5-foot-10, 145 pound forward Ryley Lindgren from East St. Paul. Lindgren had 21 goals and 45 points in 30 games with the Winnipeg Sharks of the Winnipeg AAA Hockey League Bantam Division One last season.

- and with their third and final pick of the fifth round, #99 overall, Brandon selected Calgary product Riley Van Horne. The 6-foot-1, 165 pound defenceman had three goals and 23 points in 32 games with the Calgary Royals of the AMBHL last season.

- Brandon had no picks in the sixth or seventh round, and returned to the draft with back-to-back picks in the eighth round. The Wheat Kings selected F MacKenzie Bauer. Bauer is a 5-foot-8, 150 pound forward who had 35 goals and 72 points in 33 games with Airdrie of the AMBHL last season.

- With pick #166, Brandon opted for F Jason Miller. Miller is 5-foot-8, 140 pounds and played with Spruce Grove in the AMBHL last season, notching 22 goals and 43 points in 31 games.

- in the ninth round, #187 overall, Brandon selected Calgary product Dominic Thom. Thom is a 6-foot-2, 165 pound defenceman who had zero goals and 11 points in 28 games with the Calgary Northstar Sabres of the AMBHL this past season.

- in the tenth round (#207 overall), Brandon chose Beaumont, Alberta product Liam Gregor. Gregor is a 5-foot-9, 150 pound forward who had 30 goals and 68 points in 33 games with Leduc of the AMBHL this past season.

Other interesting selections:

- Swift Current took F Dakota Odgers with the second pick of the second round, #27 overeall.  He's the son for former Brandon Wheat King Jeff Odgers.

- Regina Pats dedicated their first pick, #25 overall, to Brandon's Bill Maluta, their long-time scout that passed away this past winter.  Pats chose Winnipeg product Adam Brooks.

- Souris product Michael Fortin went in the fifth round, 92nd overall, to the Portland Winterhawks. Fortin is a 5-foot-11, 150 poound forward.

- Russell product David Dunn went in the sixth round, 125th overall, to the Kelowna Rockets. Dunn is a 6-foot-0, 150 pound defenceman.

- Elkhorn's Travis Sanheim went to Calgary with the first pick of the ninth round, 177th overall. Sanheim a 5-foot-10, 140 pound defenceman.

- Moose Jaw selected Virden product Tanner Lewis in the ninth round, 190th overall. Lewis is a 5-foot-11, 155 pound forward.

- Calgary selects Boissevain product Skylar Canada with the first pick of the 10th round, 198th overall. He's a 6-foot-2, 195 pound forward.

- Prince George selected Boissevain product Sam Houston in the 10th round. He's a 5-foot-11, 165 pound defenceman.

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