Calgary, AB. – The 2015 Western Hockey League Bantam Draft is in the books and the Brandon Wheat Kings were busy, selecting ten players.
The Wheat Kings wound up taking a total of six Manitobans, including two from the Winnipeg AAA Bantam Warriors in the first three rounds.
With the 21st and final pick of the opening round, Brandon chose 5’11” 148 lb center Caiden Daley of Winnipeg and in the third round, the Wheat Kings opted for 5’10” 146 right-winger Rylan Bettens.
In 32 games for the Warriors this past season, Daley had 23 goals and 61 points while Bettens had 56 points, including 25 goals in 32 games.
An excellent skater who likes to get to the net, Daley could not have been happier to be chosen by the Wheat Kings.
“I’m very, very excited,” says Daley, who was one of three Winnipeggers to be chosen in the first round. “I’m going to a great organization that I have watched a lot this year.”
“We’re really pleased to add Caiden today,” says Wheat Kings’ coach and general manager Kelly McCrimmon. “He has always been an elite level player in his age group. He brings size, sense and skating ability and will develop into very good offensive player.”
Despite having the final pick of the opening round, McCrimmon believes they manage to land a top ten pick. “There’s different lists for different teams. Caiden was a guy we had ranked tenth overall so we were anxious when he was available at 15, 16, 17,” he told CKLQ’s Bruce Luebke. “Fortunately for us he was still there and we’re happy to add him.”
The Wheat Kings had the final pick of the first round, after capturing the Scotty Munro Memorial Trophy as the WHL’s regular season champions with a record of 53-11-4-4. The Wheat Kings used the first overall selection in 2014 to take Winnipeg center Stelio Mattheos.
With their second round selection (43rd overall) meanwhile the Wheat Kings took 6’ 160 lb. defenceman Sean Comrie of Edmonton, who had eleven goals and 22 points in thirty games for Edmonton CAC.
In the fourth, fifth and sixth rounds, Brandon selected goalkeeper Brandon Peacock of Quesnel, B.C. (4th round; 88th) and a pair of blueliners Ty Ettinger of Androssan, Alberta (5th round; 96th) and Medora, Manitoba’s Garrett Sambrook (6th round; 132nd).
Sambrook had seven goals and 21 points for the Southwest Bantams last season, Ettinger scored six goals and 36 points with Sherwood Park while Peacock compiled a 2.00 goals against average, a .910 save percentage and five shutouts.
The Wheat Kings closed out the draft by choosing 5’9” 141 lb. center Marcus Sekundiak in the seventh (154th), left-winger Cole Reinhardt in the ninth (198th), Winnipeg goalkeeper Brendan Benoit in the tenth (220th) and left-winger Rylan Hoffman in the eleventh (242nd).
In 34 games with Central Plains this past season, Sekundiak scored 35 goals and 61 points, the 5’10” 171 lb. Reinhardt had sixteen goals and 29 points with the Airdrie Xtreme bantams while the 6’2” 17l lb. Hoffman scored 20 goals and 37 points in 41 games for Eastman bantam Selects.
Meanwhile Benoit, a 5’7” 125 lb goalkeeper compiled a 1.67 goals against average and a .934 save percentage in 38 appearances with the Winnipeg Warriors.
Of the ten players that Brandon selected, five were forwards, three were defencemen and two were goalkeepers.
Besides the six Manitobans chosen, the Wheat Kings took three from Alberta and one from the province of British Columbia.
By choosing Daley Thursday, it marked the third straight season that the Wheat Kings have chosen a Winnipeg born player with their first bantam selection. In 2013, Brandon took center Nolan Patrick fourth overall and last year, the Wheat Kings chose Stelio Mattheos with the first overall selection.
In addition to Patrick and Mattheos, Manitobans selected by the Wheat Kings in the opening round have included the likes of Codey Burki, Eric Fehr, Justin Kurtz and Colin Cloutier, who were selected in 2002, 2000, 1992 and ‘91 respectively.
After acquiring the Saskatoon Blades’ first round pick in a trade and subsequently winning the 2015 WHL Bantam Draft Lottery to retain the number one selection, the Spokane Chiefs chose defenceman Ty Smith from Lloydminster, AB first overall.
In total, 231 players were selected on Thursday; 127 forwards, 85 defencemen and 19 goaltenders.
By territory, 72 players hail from Alberta, 60 from BC, 36 from Manitoba, 33 from Saskatchewan and 30 from the United States.
For a complete look at the entire 2015 WHL Bantam Draft results click here.
Players eligible for the 2014 WHL Bantam Draft were 2000-born players, who reside in Alberta, B.C., Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Northwest Territories, Yukon, Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Kansas, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Washington and Wyoming.
Now that the 2015 Awards Luncheon and Bantam Draft are in the books, attention turns to Westman Communications Group Place where the Wheat Kings will host the Kelowna Rockets this weekend in games one and two of the WHL Championship Series, presented by ROGERS.
A limited number of tickets remain for both games. Fans can purchase at the Keystone Centre box office, by calling 726-3555 or online at keystonecentre.com