The Victoria Royals are proud to announce the selection of 12 players at the 2017 WHL Bantam Draft today in Calgary, AB.
Victoria’s 12 draft picks included six skaters from Alberta, while Manitoba contributed with two and British Columbia provided one player. The Royals’ remaining three selections were drafted from the United States (Arizona and Washington). By position, Victoria selected six forwards and six defencemen.
The Royals used their opening pick of the draft, 32nd overall, to select forward Dallon Melin from the Camrose Red Wings Bantam AAA of the Alberta Major Bantam Hockey League (AMBHL). Melin, a native of Camrose, AB, recorded 62 points (23g-39a) in 36 games for the Red Wings during this season. The 6-2, 177 lb forward also added three goals in two playoff games.
“Dallon is a power forward who protects the puck well and possesses a great skill set,” Royals’ Senior Alberta Regional Scout Ryan Guenter said.
In Round 3, 52nd overall, the Royals drafted Kaden Reinders of the Grand Prairie Storm Bantam AAA in the AMBHL. Reinders, a 5-11, 170 lb forward, suited up in 33 games and racked up 19 points (4g-15a) to go along with 70 penalty minutes. The Grande Prairie, AB product helped his club reach the Alberta Cup Final as he registered five points (1g-4a) in five games at the tournament.
“Kaden is a powerful and physical skater, who moves the puck well and has a good shot,” Guenter said.
With their second pick of the round, 54th overall, the Royals nabbed Ty Thorpe from Rink Hockey Academy (RHA) Bantam Prep of the Canadian Sport School Bantam Hockey League (CSSBHL). The Brandon, MB product played in 30 games where he picked up 42 points (20g-12a) and 40 penalty minutes. The 5-11, 148 lb forward helped RHA Bantam Prep to a 23-5-2 mark this season.
"Ty is an intelligent player who skates well, plays on both sides of the puck, has great vision and is defensively responsible," Royals’ Senior Prairies Regional Scout Garry Pochipinski said.
With the 69th overall pick, Victoria chose forward Alex Bolshakov of the Seattle Sno-King Under-14 Junior Thunderbirds of the Pacific Coast Bantam Hockey League (PCBHL). During the 2016-17 campaign, the product of Seattle, WA helped his team win the Tier 2 league with a 13-1-6 record. Bolshakov and the Jr. Thunderbirds also won the Washington State Provincial Championship in March. Last May, the 6-0, 175lb forward led the Kent Valley Under-14 Selects with nine points (5g-4a) in five games at the May Madness Tournament.
“Alex is a smooth skating and agile power forward with a high-end skill set,” Guenter said.
Victoria's Round 5 selection, 93rd overall, was used to draft 5-9, 170 lb centre Ty Yoder. The native of Camrose, AB most recently played for the Camrose Red Wings Bantam AAA of the AMBHL, where he collected 66 points (31g-35a) in 28 games. Yoder was voted by his team as the Red Wings’ best forward.
“Ty is a small but physical and sturdy player who possesses a heavy shot with a good finish,” Guenter said.
In the sixth round, 118th overall, the Royals selected Camrose, AB native Noah Lamb. During the 2016-17 campaign, Lamb suited up for the Camrose Red Wings Bantam AAA of the AMBHL. The 5-7, 161 lb blueliner played in 31 games for the Red Wings and registered 32 points (5g-27a) to go along with 51 penalty minutes. Lamb, the second-best scoring defenceman on the team, helped the club to a record of 23-5-8.
“Noah is a physical puck mover who plays well at both ends of the rink,” Guenter said. “He is the definition of a two-way defender.”
With the 142nd selection, the Royals chose 5-7, 154 lb blueliner Michael Benning from the St. Albert Sabres of the AMBHL. With 43 points (10g-33a) in 36 games, the St. Albert, AB product captained his club to a league-best record of 31-4-1. Michael is the brother of current NHL defenceman Matt Benning, who is playing for the Edmonton Oilers.
"Michael is a player who can take on any role," Guenter said. “He is a gifted offensive puck moving defender on the powerplay and is an efficient penalty killer.”
Victoria used their 164th overall pick to draft defenceman Dylan Hewlett. This season, the native of Port Moody, BC suited up for the Port Moody Panthers Bantam A1 in the Pacific Coast Amateur Hockey Association (PCAHA). The 5-10, 175 lb blueliner was the top scoring defenceman on his club at the 2017 Bantam Tier 2 BC Championship as he posted four goals and two assists in five contests.
“Dylan is a puck moving defenceman who skates well, makes good first passes and plays a physical game," Senior British Columbia Regional Scout Ed Fowler said.
Victoria selected 5-9, 149 lb defenceman Mark Gordon with the 186th overall selection. During the 2016-17 season, Gordon played for the Arizona Bobcats Under-14 AAA team of the United States Hockey League (USHL). The Chandler, AZ born blueliner registered four points (3g-1a) in six contests at the North American Hockey League (NAHL) Future Prospects 2017 Tournament.
"Mark is a smooth skating blueliner who possesses a good shot and moves the puck well," Fowler said. “He can play either forward or defence.”
In Round 10, 202nd overall, the Royals drafted Carter Loney from Rink Hockey Academy Nationals Bantam Prep team from the CSSBHL. This season, Loney recorded 29 points (12g-17a) along with 10 penalty minutes through 30 contests. The 5-7, 126 lb forward also tallied two goals and two helpers in five games at the John Reid Memorial Tournament.
"Carter is a smart, playmaking centre who has great skill and vision with the puck," Pochipinski said.
With their pick in Round 11, 230th overall, the Royals chose Nathan Morgan from the Calgary Royals Bantam AAA of the AMBHL. The 5-8, 165 lb forward led his club in points with 45 (23g-22a) in 36 games for the Royals.
"Nathan is a hard-working forward who put up good numbers and played an all-around game for his club," Guenter said.
Victoria’s final pick, 252nd overall, was used to draft defenceman Andrew Ramsey who suited up for the Arizona Bobcats Under-14 team of the United States Hockey League (USHL U-15) this season. The Scottsdale, AZ product tallied two assists in six games at the NAHL Future Prospects 2017 Tournament.
"Andrew is a poised offensive defenceman who moves the puck well and creates scoring chances,” Guenter said.
The WHL Bantam Draft is an annual event in which the clubs of the Western Hockey League select players who have graduated from bantam. For the 2017 draft, players born in 2002 are eligible. The Draft order is determined by way of points in the regular season, with the exception of teams that missed the WHL Playoffs which are placed into a draft lottery for the first round only. With the exception of the lottery results in the first round, teams will select in order of fewest to most regular season points.
During the bantam draft, players from Western Canada and the states of Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Kansas, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Washington and Wyoming are eligible to be selected.
The Royals’ 2017-18 Season Ticket Packages are on-sale now. Guarantee yourself the best seats, prices and benefits that includes the most flexible ticket exchange policy in the WHL. Secure your spot for next season by giving the Royals’ ticket office a call at 250-220-7889 or sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org to set up an appointment to view available seating.