Ice add to prospect pool at draft

Kootenay makes 10 selections while a local player gets picked up by Tri-City Americans

The Kootenay Ice added more prospects to the pool by selecting 10 players at the WHL Bantam Draft on Thursday in Calgary.

Using their 11th overall pick in the first round, Ice director of scouting Garnet Kazuik  selected defenceman Griffin Mendel, adding two more blueliners, six forwards and a goaltender after 11 rounds.

Due to trades the Ice did not make selections in the third round (sent to Kamloops in a trade package for Landon Cross and Tim Bozon) and the sixth round (sent to Kelowna for Zach Franko).

The Ice made two selections in the ninth round and one final pick in the 11th round.

“It went well,” said Kazuik. “We didn’t have a third or a sixth round pick, so obviously, you got to change your strategy a bit and be patient, and be very sure of who you want to take.

“In the mid-rounds to late-rounds you’ve got to work and you’re projecting players at that point—who is going to be a good player for the Kootenay Ice in the future.”

While there wasn’t the star power of guys like Matthew Barzal (1st overall, 2012) or Tyler Benson (1st overall, 2013) to open the first round, Kazuik added that patience is key when it comes to developing and growing elite hockey players.

“I think in time, some of these players will become impact players in our league,” Kazuik said. “…At the end of the day, these players are going to play and they’re going to be very, very good hockey players in this group.”

The Brandon Wheat Kings had the first overall pick, scooping up centre Stelios Mattheos out of Winnipeg.

When it came to Kootenay’s spot at 11th overall, Kazuik made his first pick on Mendel, who plays out of the Okanagan Hockey Academy and hails from Kelowna.

“He’s a big body, he’s a very strong player, he shoots the puck, he sees the ice,” said Kazuik. “The biggest thing with Grif is he’s a very, very patient hockey player. He sees the ice very well and what I mean by that is in the defensive zone, he makes a good first pass, he’s patient, and as he grows and matures, he’s going to be very, very hard to play against.”

Kazuik followed up with taking goaltender Jakob Walter in the second round. Walter is also out of the Okanagan and is playing bantam hockey in Kamloops.

Kazuik spent the rest of the draft collecting two more defencemen and six forwards.

Americans draft Cranbrook product

One Cranbrook hockey player was picked up in the WHL Bantam Draft, as the Tri-City Americans tabbed Korbyn Chabot 182nd overall in the ninth round.

Chabot, a centre, spent the last season playing for the bantam Tier 2 Cranbrook Hornets in the South Central Alberta Hockey League.

Chabot led his team in scoring, posting 47 goals, 21 assist for 68 points in 31 games. He was the runner up in the league points race, but led the SCAHL in goals.

Though it happened in the ninth round, Chabot is still excited to be a new WHL prospect with the Americans.

“It was a goal of mine, I really thought I was going to get drafted, so I was really happy when I did,” said Chabot.

“…I know a few things [about Tri-City], they’re a high-level team, high competition. I know a few kids that got drafted last year and this year, so it should be a fun year.”

He has a busy summer of off-season training ahead of him before he gets the chance to showcase his skills in front of the scouting staff at training camp.


Ice draft results

Round One – 11th Overall – GRIFFIN MENDEL

Birthdate: February 18, 1999

Hometown: Kelowna, BC

Position: Defenseman

Height: 6’1”

Weight: 185 lbs.

13-14 Team: Okanagan Hockey Academy – OMAHA


Round Two – 33rd Overall – JAKOB WALTER

Birthdate: May 16, 1999

Hometown: West Kamloops, BC

Position: Goaltender

Height: 6’1”

Weight: 180 lbs.

13-14 Team: Kamloops Jardine Blazers – OMAHA


Round Four – 77th Overall – MAX PATTERSON

Birthdate: December 27, 1999

Hometown: Kamloops, BC

Position: Right Wing

Height: 6’3”

Weight: 165 lbs.

13-14 Team: Kamloops Jardine Blazers – OMAHA


Round Five – 99th Overall – LINDEN BABCOCK

Birthdate: November 5, 1999

Hometown: Calgary, AB

Position: Centre

Height: 5’11”

Weight: 163 lbs.

13-14 Team: Calgary Flames – AMBHL


Round Seven – 138th Overall – AUSTIN WIELER

Birthdate: June 18, 1999

Hometown: Laird, SK

Position: Defenseman

Height: 6’0”

Weight: 157 lbs.

13-14 Team: Sask Valley Vipers – SBAAHL


Round Eight – 165th Overall – BRETT TRENTHAM

Birthdate: March 8, 1999

Hometown: Three Hills, AB

Position: Left Wing

Height: 5’11”

Weight: 165 lbs.

13-14 Team: Airdrie Xtreme – AMBHL


Round Nine – 187th Overall – AUSTIN NAULT

Birthdate: June 1, 1999

Hometown: Winnipeg, MB

Position: Right Wing

Height: 5’11”

Weight: 142 lbs.

13-14 Team: Winnipeg Warriors – WMHA


Round Nine – 198th Overall – SAM HUSTON

Birthdate: May 31, 1999

Hometown: Brandon, MB

Position: Defenseman

Height: 6’3”

Weight: 160 lbs.

13-14 Team: Brandon Wheat Kings – WMHA


Round Ten – 209th Overall – EVAN THOMAS

Birthdate: September 6, 1999

Hometown: Saskatoon, SK

Position: Centre

Height: 5’8”

Weight: 155 lbs.

13-14 Team: Saskatoon Outlaws – SBAAHL


Round Eleven – 231st Overall – THOMAS GOLDADE

Birthdate: April 16, 1999

Hometown: Regina, SK

Position: Forward

Height: 6’0”

Weight: 170 lbs.

13-14 Team: Regina Monarchs – SBAAHL