June 28, 2013, (ISN) – As the 2013 NHL Entry Draft approaches this weekend, four members of the Kelowna Rockets are preparing for what could be the biggest day in their young careers.
Madison Bowey, Myles Bell, Mitchell Wheaton and Jackson Whistle are all hopeful to hear their names called this weekend at the NHL Entry Draft, being held in Newark, New Jersey.
Bowey, a smooth skating and skilled defenceman who was ranked 32nd in NHL Central Scouting’s final list of North American skaters, was en route to the draft with family on Thursday. He said the weekend is a huge moment for his entire family with his parents and two brothers among the family members who will be with him in New Jersey.
“I’m just very excited and looking forward to the weekend,” said Bowey, 18. “The weekend means a lot to me but also to my family. It’s always been a dream of mine to play in the NHL and after this weekend I could be one step closer to doing that.”
At 19, defenceman-turned-forward Bell is coming off a his first full season as a forward, one that saw him score 93 points to lead the Rockets. His skill and strength drew the attention of scouts who listed him 46th among North American skaters. He’s gone through draft expectations before and is heading into the weekend with an open mind.
“It’s obviously an exciting day for me and my family,” said Bell. “It’s something we’ve all looked forward to but at the same time whatever happens happens. You can’t control much so whatever the outcome I will have somewhere to play next year.”
At 6-foot-5, defenceman Mitchell Wheaton (ranked 69th) was having an outstanding rookie season with Kelowna before injury derailed it and limited him to 39 games. Still the physical defenceman was plus-20 and impressed with his puck-moving abilities.
Wheaton will spend draft day at home with family and friends in Sherwood Park, AB, where he is rehabbing and getting ready for his second WHL season. He says it’s tough not to get excited with the draft approaching.
“You try not to think about it as much as you can but it’s hard not to,” said Wheaton, who returned in the WHL playoffs despite requiring surgery. “I’m trying not to worry about it and just let things happen as they happen. I’m just thinking about how far I have come in the last few years and I’m grateful for the situation I’m in.”
Back-up goalie Jackson Whistle had a great first season in Kelowna and enters the weekend as the 27th ranked North American goalie. As a fan of the NHL draft Whistle watches every year. This weekend will be a bit different though when he and his friends gather Sunday.
“I’ve always watched the draft growing up so it will be pretty cool to watch it this year,” said Whistle, who will also graduate from Kelowna Secondary this weekend. “Even if I don’t get drafted, just to see the guys on our team go in the draft will be pretty exciting.”
The NHL Entry Draft is this Sunday in New Jersey.