Calgary, AB. – The 2017 Western Hockey League Bantam Draft is underway this morning in Calgary and the Brandon Wheat Kings used their first pick and eighth overall selection to take Ridly Greig of the Lethbridge Golden Hawks.
A 5’8” 140 lb forward, Greig averaged more than two points per game with the Lethbridge Golden Hawks during the 2016-17 season, finishing with 22 goals and 71 points in 35 games.
“We think he’s the smartest player in the draft” said Director of Scouting Darren Ritchie. “Our priority was getting hockey smarts at the top and speed and that is what this guy has.”
A Lethbridge product, Greig has scored 35 goals and 113 points in 71 games for the Hawks over the course of the last two seasons.
This marked the first time since the WHL bantam draft was introduced in 1990 that the Wheat Kings, who finished as the first wild card team in the Eastern Conference this past season, has had the eighth overall pick. It also was the highest selection for the club since opting for Stelio Mattheos with the first overall pick in 2014.
In the 26-year history of the bantam draft, the Wheat Kings have had thirteen top ten selections – 1st overall (once), 2nd (three), 4th (twice), 5th (once), 6th (twice), 7th (twice) and ninth (twice).
In addition to Mattheos, other top 10 picks by the Wheat Kings have included Nolan Patrick, Kale Clague, Brayden Schenn, Jeff Topilko, Eric Fehr, Darren Van Oene, Wade Redden, Justin Kurtz, Joel Korenko, Colin Cloutier, Mike Dubinsky and Carlos Bye.
The Prince Albert Raiders won last month’s draft lottery and used it to take Defenceman Kaiden Guhle from Edmonton, AB with the first overall pick.
The Wheat Kings will have two second round picks (27th and 30th overall), thanks to a 2016 trade between Brandon and Saskatoon.
Players eligible for the 2017 WHL Bantam Draft will be 2002 born players who reside in Alberta, BC, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Northwest Territories, Yukon, Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Kansas, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Washington and Wyoming.
The WHL bantam draft is the first opportunity for WHL clubs to replenish their systems with graduating bantam-aged players.