By Christian J. Stewart (ISN)
Calgary (ISN) – Victoria Racquet Club forward Ethan Waitzner was the first of six Vancouver Island players to be selected in the 2012 WHL Bantam Draft, going to the Prince George Cougars in the 5th round (92nd pick overall).
Waitzner (6’3″, 175 pounds) spent last season with the Victoria Racquet Club Tier 1 Bantam squad where he scored 19 goals, and totaled 61 points in 41 games. Waitzner also had 78 penalty minutes.
Waitzner was followed immediately in the draft by the selection of his teammate, goaltender Markus Daly, who was selected 93rd overall by his hometown Victoria Royals and becomes the first hometown pick in Royals history. The Royals, who selected Comox goaltender Mike Herringer in last year’s Bantam Draft, now have two Island goaltending prospects in their system.
The 5’11, 165 lb netminder posted a 1.73 goals against average and a 2-1 record before being named team MVP at the 2011 Rick Lapointe Memorial Bantam Showcase Tournament.
“Markus is highly regarded by our scouting staff,” Director of Scouting Gary Pochipinski said. “He is a very sound goaltender in all areas that competes hard to make every save.”
With the 128th pick overall, the Everett Silvertips selected Nanaimo’s Patrick Bajkov in Round 6. Bajkov played on the Nanaimo Bantam AAA team this past season and was involved in the BC U16 Cup where he scored 2 goals and had 3 assists in 4 games played.
Bajkov’s teammate in Nanaimo, left-wing Jordan Topping was the next Island player to be selected, heading to the Tri-City Americans as the 175th overall pick in the 8th round. Topping had a solid year for the Clippers, with 44 goals and 37 assists in 38 games.
The fifth Island player selected was Campbell River centre Grady McInnes who was drafted 215th overall by the Calgary Hitmen.
Rounding out the Island players selected, the Victoria Racquet Club’s success this past season paid off in the selection of their third player, with Haydn Hopkins being selected 257th overall in the 12th round by the Saskatoon Blades. Blades Assistant GM says of Hopkins, “Haydn is a player that always skates hard and plays much bigger than his size. He’s got good skill and really improved throughout the season.”