Ice gearing up for bantam draft

Kootenay has ninth overall pick and four selections in the fifth round.

The WHL Bantam Draft is coming up on Friday, and the Kootenay Ice will be looking to their future.

Scouts from across the league gather in Calgary on Thursday for the 2013 WHL Bantam Draft, and Ice head scout Garnet Kazuik will be there to make the calls.

The Ice have picks in every round but the eighth—sent to the Tri-City Americans for their spot in the CHL Import Draft last year—and also have four selections in the fifth round, which have accumulated in various deals over the last two seasons.

Kazuik, who spends his winter and spring months traversing Western Canada to identify up and coming bantam talent, said this year’s draft class has a higher profile than others in the past because of the influence of social media.

“The top players—the top layer—is very good, just like in most drafts,” said Kazuik. “The top group is good, but that takes away nothing from the guys in the middle of the first round either. They’re very good players and more often than not, some of those players turn out to be just as good as the top guys anyways.”

Kootenay selects ninth overall in the first round, but the Vancouver Giants start the show with the first pick after a poor season that finished with them in the WHL basement.

“Where we’re picking, we should definitely get a good player, and hopefully it’s an impact player, and we’re just looking for the best fit for the Kootenay Ice that fits into the framework of our team,” continued Kazuik, “that fits well with our dressing room and our coaching staff.”

Kootenay gets picks in the second and third round, and takes the fourth round selection of the Swift Current Broncos, which belonged to the Saskatoon Blades via a trade for Erik Benoit at the deadline in January.

The Ice then get a whopping four selections in the fifth round. Along with Kootenay’s own spot, the Ice picked up fifth round picks in trades that sent Elgin Pearce to the Medicine Hat Tigers, Mike Simpson to the Lethbridge Hurricanes and John Neibrandt to the Vancouver Giants.

“I think it’s going to be very valuable, because you can definitely find players in the fifth round that can play,” said Kazuik.

He referenced Kootenay Ice alumnus Nigel Dawes, the sniper who won a Memorial Cup with the team and a gold medal at the World Junior Championship. Dawes was drafted 73rd overall in the fifth round of the 2000 WHL Bantam Draft.

“If you can find some players that can play, it’s definitely going to help our depth in that age group for sure,” added Kazuik. “And that’s where the important part is—the depth that those fifth round picks can fill.”

While the draft is meant to build for the future, the picks are also important bargaining chips for trades. The Ice scooped up Jordyn Boyd from the Everett Silvertips on draft day last year, giving up a fifth round selection in return.

Ice general manager Jeff Chynoweth said he is looking to draft 10 to 11 players, but he is also waiting to see what happens in terms of who wants to buy and sell when the process gets underway.

“We’re going to look at all options and we’re going to see what everybody is going to do,” said Chynoweth. “If we can make our team better, we will, but it’s tough to make trades for veteran players with draft picks…you can do it, but you have to have a dance partner.

“…We’re excited about the nucleus of our team that’s coming back next year, we have lots of potential. We got some holes to fill, just like every other team does and we’ll address that starting Thursday as well as the rest of the summer and into the start of the season.”

WHL NOTES: The Portland Winterhawks won’t be able to make any selections in the draft until the seventh round, due to disciplinary sanctions from the WHL stemming from an investigation into alleged player benefit violations.

Just Posted

The City of Cranbrook and the Ktunaxa Nation raised the flag of the Ktunaxa Nation at the arches entrance into the city’s downtown core during a ceremony on Monday, June 21. Photo courtesy City of Cranbrook.
Ktunaxa Nation flag raised at downtown arches entrance

The Ktunaxa Nation flag was raised at the Cranbrook arches — the… Continue reading

Kimberley Search and Rescue were able to quickly respond to a call for service and transport an injured mountain biker to East Kootenay Regional Hospital over the weekend. Kimberley SAR file photo.
Kimberley Search and Rescue respond to injured mountain biker on Bootleg Mountain

Kimberley Search and Rescue responded to a call for service this past… Continue reading

FILE – Perry Bellegarde, National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations, takes part in an event on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Tuesday, July 7, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Indigenous Peoples Day must be a ‘call to action’, says Assembly of First Nations chief

Discovery of children at Kamloops residential school site must lead to change, Perry Bellegarde says

City of Cranbrook, Ktunaxa Nation to host flag ceremony on National Indigenous Peoples Day. (Corey Bullock file)
City of Cranbrook, Ktunaxa Nation hosting flag ceremony on National Indigenous Peoples Day

A temporary road closure and speed limit reduction will be in effect during the ceremony

A tent housing a mobile vaccination clinic. (Interior Health/Contributed)
Over 5K jabbed at Interior Health mobile COVID-19 vaccine clinics

The clinics have made stops in more than 40 communities since launching last week

Pictured is Mrs. O and her grade 4/5 class at St. Mary’s Catholic School in Cranbrook. Mrs. O challenged her class to read 36,000 pages in May and they far surpassed that goal. The students were then allowed to choose her fate. (Corey Bullock/Cranbrook Townsman file)
WATCH: St. Mary’s Catholic School grade 4/5 class wins reading challenge

Teacher lets students choose fate after reading over 47,000 pages in one month

Fans watch the warm-up before Game 6 between the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Montreal Canadiens in NHL playoff hockey action Saturday, May 29, 2021 in Montreal. Quebec’s easing of COVID-19 restrictions will allow 2,500 fans to attend the game for the first time in fourteen months. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Two-thirds of Canadians say governments shouldn’t lift all COVID-19 restrictions

Poll reports Canadians who gained pandemic weight say they have gained 16 pounds on average

Paul Bernardo is shown in this courtroom sketch during Ontario court proceedings via video link in Napanee, Ont., on October 5, 2018. Teen killer and serial rapist Paul Bernardo is set for a parole hearing today. The designated dangerous offender, has been eligible for full parole for more than three years. Bernardo’s horrific crimes in the 1980s and early 1990s include for kidnapping, torturing and killing Kristen French and Leslie Mahaffy near St. Catharines, Ont. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Greg Banning
Killer rapist Paul Bernardo faces parole hearing today; victim families opposed

Designated dangerous offender has been eligible for full parole for more than three years.

People look over the damage after a tornado touched down in Mascouche, Que., north of Montreal, Monday, June 21, 2021. Dozens of homes were damaged and one death has been confirmed. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
One dead and extensive damage as tornado hits Mascouche, Que., north of Montreal

Damage reported in several parts of the city, and emergency teams dispatched to sectors hardest hit

Chilliwack secondary school’s principal is apologizing after a quote equating graduation with the end of slavery in the U.S. was included in the 2020-2021 yearbook. (Screenshot from submitted SnapChat)
B.C. student’s yearbook quote equates grad to end of slavery; principal cites editing error

Black former student ‘disgusted’ as CSS principal apologizes for what is called an editing error

Skeena MLA Ellis Ross. (Photo by Peter Versteege)
BC Liberal leadership candidate condemns ‘senseless violence’ of Okanagan church fires

Skeena MLA Ellis Ross says reconciliation isn’t about revenge for past tragedies

A coroner’s inquest will be taking place at the Capitol Theatre in Port Alberni for the next week. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)
Teen B.C. mom who died following police custody recalled as ‘friend to many’

Police sent Jocelyn George to hospital after intoxication had gone ‘beyond the realm’ of normal detox

FILE - In this Nov. 29, 2020, file photo, Las Vegas Raiders defensive end Carl Nassib leaves the field after an NFL football game against the Atlanta Falcons in Atlanta. Nassib on Monday, June 21, 2021, became the first active NFL player to come out as gay. Nassib announced the news on Instagram, saying he was not doing it for the attention but because “I just think that representation and visibility are so important.” (AP Photo/John Bazemore, File)
Nassib becomes first active NFL player to come out as gay

More than a dozen NFL players have come out as gay after their careers were over

Penticton Indian Band Chief Greg Gabriel speaks to the Sacred Hearts Catholic Church burning down early Monday morning, June 21, 2021. (Monique Tamminga Western News)
Penticton band chief condemns suspicious burning of 2 Catholic churches

Both Catholic church fires are deemed suspicious, says RCMP

Most Read