There wasn’t much question coming into the 2015 WHL Bantam Draft — Ty Smith was going to be the first-overall pick.
As the clock ticked past 8:30 a.m. (Mountain), the Spokane Chiefs made it official, selecting the Lloydminster-born defenceman with the top pick in the 2015 WHL Bantam Draft.
“Ty is a dynamic player that makes an impact every shift, said Chris Moulton, Chiefs director of player personnel, in a team media release. “He is a leader and a competitor.
“Ty’s vision is as good as I have ever seen and he makes those around him better.”
Smith, a 5-foot-10, 161-pound blue-liner, spent the 2014-15 campaign with the Delta Hockey Academy Bantam Prep team, posting nine goals and 28 points in 16 games.
The Chiefs landed the first-overall pick and the opportunity to select the left-shooting Smith courtesy the Saskatoon Blades in January 2013 after swapping forward Collin Valcourt.
“Ty Smith is a special hockey player,” said Garnet Kazuik, Kootenay Ice director of scouting.
“He controls the pace of the game.”
Kazuik compared Smith to former Portland Winterhawks defenceman Derrick Pouliot, who went on to be a first-round selection of the NHL’s Pittsburgh Penguins.
Though Smith won’t suit up for the Ice, fans in Cranbrook may very well get plenty of opportunity to see the 2015 first-overall selection once he joins Kootenay’s nearest southern rival.
Smith is eligible to join the Chiefs for the 2016-17 WHL season. He turns 16 on March 23, 2016.
Smith was the first of two selections in the opening-round of the 2015 WHL Bantam Draft for Spokane. The Chiefs also claimed centre Koby Morriseau, of Grandview, Man., with the ninth-overall pick Thursday morning.
The 2015 WHL Bantam Draft was hosted at the Deerfoot Inn in Calgary.