April 29 2014 ISN -Calgary, AB. – When the Brandon Wheat Kings step up and make the first
overall selection in Thursday’s Western Hockey League Bantam Draft, the
player that they choose will be joining some pretty select company.
Wheat Kings, who have never selected first overall since the league
introduced the bantam draft in 1990, will be selecting from 1999-born
players who reside in Alberta, B.C., Manitoba, Saskatchewan, the
Northwest Territories, Yukon, Alaska as well as the western United
Among those players chosen first overall are Matthew Barzal of Seattle, Jake
Virtanen of the Calgary Hitmen and Derrick Pouliot of the Portland Winterhawks as
well as current National Hockey Leaguers Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (Red Deer) of the
Edmonton Oilers, Ottawa Senators’ defenceman Jared Cowen (Spokane), BraydonCoburn
(Portland) of Philadelphia, Jay Bouwmeester (Medicine Hat) of the St. Louis Blues as
well as Winnipeg’s Jonathan Toews
of the Stanley Cup Champion Chicago Blackhawks, who was drafted by the
Tri-City Americans but elected to attend the University of North Dakota.
The Wheat Kings earned the first overall pick thanks to a trade with Saskatoon in
2012 that saw overage right-winger Brenden Walker
go to the Blades. Saskatoon won the draft lottery in March and as a
result Brandon was able to swap first round picks and move up.
Draft order of selection is determined by where a WHL Club finishes in
the WHL Regular Season standings. The Clubs that miss the playoffs are
placed into a lottery to determine the selection order for the first
round only. After the first round, the Clubs select in order from the
fewest to most regular season points.
Lethbridge will have the
second selection, Kamloops will select third, Moose Jaw will have the
fourth selection and the Prince George Cougars will round out the top
Prior to this year, the Wheat Kings best draft position had been second overall – in
1991, ’92 and ’93 – when Brandon chose Colin Cloutier, Wade Redden and Darren
After a draft day deal that saw Brandon send netminder Corbin Boes to Lethbridge
last season, the Wheat Kings used the fourth, sixth and 25th overall picks to select
NolanPatrick, Kale Clague and Tanner Kaspick.
bantam draft is scheduled to begin at 9:30am Manitoba time and the
entire first round, including Brandon’s selection can be seen live via
webcast on www.whl.ca
Meanwhile the 2014 WHL Awards Luncheon is set for Wednesday as the league salutes
the best of the 2013-14 regular season.