The Kootenay Ice announced on Tuesday morning that their second overall selection in the 2017 WHL Bantam Draft had signed a Western Hockey League Standard Player Agreement, making his commitment to the team official.
After a weekend of visiting Cranbrook and meeting with the Ice’s management, Connor McClennon agreed to become the newest member of the organization, a big moment for the 14-year-old.
“[It was] a pretty special feeling,” McClennon said. “It’s something I’ve dreamed of for a long time, to be in the WHL, but now the real work begins.”
McClennon played the 2016-17 season with the Pursuit of Excellence Bantam Prep team of the CSSBHL where he put up a league-leading 99 points — 45 goals and 54 assists — and was named the league’s MVP.
“[McClennon]’s accomplishments, high degree of skill and compete level were qualities that our scouting staff (lead by Garnet Kazuik) identified early,” said Kootenay’s President and General Manager, Matt Cockell, in a team release. “[He] is a humble young man, he has a great understanding of the work that lies ahead and we believe will be an important part of our group as we build moving forward”.
During his visit, McClennon met with Cockell and head coach Luke Pierce, while also taking a tour of the Ice dressing room and visiting Mount Baker Secondary School.
“The town looks great,” McClennon said. “The whole facility and what Kootenay has to offer seems pretty good. [All the staff that I met] seem to be very good people [too] and can help me out in the long run.”
On Saturday, McClennon also had the chance to take in a round of golf at Wildstone.
“[That] was awesome.”
As a 15-year-old, McClennon will only be eligible to play in five games with the Ice next season but is expected to attend training camp in September.
While he isn’t sure where he will play the majority of his next season yet — he’s still working out the details with his family —for now, he’s still in Kelowna, training and skating every day at Pursuit of Excellence.
In mid-June, McClennon will return to his hometown of Wainwright, Alberta where he will continue to maintain a rigorous training regiment.
McClennon is one of ten prospects taken by the Ice at the 2017 Draft and is the first to officially sign on with the franchise.