The Victoria Royals are proud to announce the selection of nine players in the 2021 WHL Bantam Draft.
The 2021 WHL Bantam Draft was originally scheduled to be held in May 2021 but was rescheduled to allow players in the 2006 age group more time to be evaluated following the challenges that arose from the pandemic.
Of the nine drafted players, the Royals selected five forwards, three defencemen and a goaltender of which four are from British Columbia, three from Alberta and two are from Saskatchewan.
With their first pick of the draft the Victoria Royals selected Hiroki Gojsic 23rd overall. The Langley native currently plays for the St. George’s U18 Prep team of the Canadian Sport School Hockey League (CCSHL). The 6’2” one-hundred- and seventy-pound forward has played in ten games for St. George’s and already has 14 points from eight goals and six assists.
“We are very excited to add Hiroki to our group,” said Ed Fowler, Director of Player Personnel for the Royals. “Hiroki is a highly skilled, power forward that uses his size and compete level to his advantage. He plays the game fast and physical and has elite hands around the net.”
With the 46th pick, Victoria selected goaltender Jayden Kraus most recently with the Prince Albert Mintos U18 AAA of the Saskatchewan Male U18 AAA Hockey League (SMAAAHL). The 6’0” one-hundred- and seventy-pound netminder has played in 14 games this season going 7-5-0 with a 2.22 GAA and a 0.929 SV%.
“Jayden is already proving himself to be among the top goaltenders in the Saskatchewan U18AAA league as a 15-year-old rookie,” Fowler said. “He’s extremely athletic, quick, dedicated and competes every day at a high level.”
In the fourth round, the Royals selected defenceman Matthew Keller of the Edge School U18 Prep team, 74th overall. The Alberta native started off the season with the U16 Prep team playing in 14 games scoring one goal and eight assists before he joined the U18 team. The defenceman has played in five games for the U18 team and has one goal and one assist so far.
With the 77th pick also in the fourth round, Victoria selected defenceman Carsten Kayter from the Warman Wildcats U18 AAA of the SMAAAHL. The 5’7 one-hundred- and forty-one-pound Saskatchewan native has played in 23 games for the Wildcats so far collecting 11 points on one goal and ten assists.
“Matthew is a defenceman with all round skills and abilities which combined with his size and hockey sense, will be a great addition to the Royals organization,” said Fowler. “Carsten on the other hand is a very mobile defender with quick hands and the ability to find open passing options. He has a high hockey IQ which makes him very effective on the power play and his quickness and skating ability make him a good defender. We are excited to see them both at our level,” Fowler said.
The Royals used their seventh-round pick, 134th overall to select Steven Foster from the Yale Hockey Academy U17 Prep of the CSSHL. The 5’10” one-hundred- and fifty-pound forward played in one game for the U18 Prep team before joining the U17 Prep team. So far this season the Abbotsford native has played in five games and has scored three goals and seven assists.
“Steven is a smooth skating, high energy forward with a high compete level,” said Fowler. “He plays the game quickly and will be a great addition to the Royals organization.”
With the 197th pick, Victoria selected Deegan Kinniburgh of the Lethbridge Hurricanes U16 AAA team in the Alberta Elite Hockey League (AEHL). The 5’11” one-hundred- and fifty-pound forward has played in 12 games for the Hurricanes collecting 13 points on six goals and seven assists.
“Deegan is a fast, smooth skating forward. He plays with determination and grit,” Fowler stated. “He will bring heart and hustle to the Victoria Royals.”
In the tenth round, 200th overall, the Royals selected Brendon Hall of the Pacific Coast Academy U16 Prep team in the CSSHL. The Victoria native has played in 15 games so far this season registering 11 goals and 15 assists for 26 points.
Using the 206th pick, the Royals selected Victoria native Seth Fryer of the Peninsula Panthers of the Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League (VIJHL). The 6’5” one-hundred- and fifty-seven-pound defenceman was previously with the Pacific Coast Academy U16 Prep team of the CSSHL U16 this year, playing in 15 games collecting seven assists.
“Brendon Hall is a hard-working, two-way forward capable of playing in many situations. He is a creative player with good vision. Developing his strength will help Brendon reach his potential as a Royal,” Fowler said of Hall.” “Fryer has great size combined with long reach. He skates well and is a talented defender who is continuing to develop well this season”
For their final draft pick of the draft, Victoria selected Hudson Binder 222nd overall. The Calgary native currently plays for the Calgary Royals U16 team of the AEHL and has registered 15 goals and 11 assists in 18 games.
“Hudson is a power forward with a scoring touch. He provides leadership through example and will be a great addition to the Victoria Royals,” said Fowler of their final selection.
The Royals are back in action tomorrow when they take on the Vancouver Giants in Langley before they head back to Victoria on Saturday night for the Inaugural Lighthouse Island Bowl.