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Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Pacific Selects Gold, Edmonton Rangers Bronze

The Carmen Starr Tournament in Los Angelas has come to a close yesteday.  The Pacific Selects, and to no surprise have won the tournament.  They ran their record to 5-0-0 with a hard faught 4-3 victory over the LA Kings Black squad.  The score was just 1-0 after the 2nd period of play on a goal by Selects forward Robby Jackson who had a coming out party of sorts as he wasn't ranked in our top 50 western USA prospects.  Jackson finished with 4-3-7 in 5 games and really had a great tournament for the Selects.  By the 5:18 mark of the 2nd period, the Selects had run the lead to 4-0 on goals by, Texeria, Khodorenko and Ben Barker.  Ben Barker and Keoni Texeira are a pair of dmen who will be watched closely in the coming months leading up to the WHL Bantam Draft.  The LA Kings Black wouldn't go away quietly though as Brody Stevens, Bobby Campbell and Junyan Mak all scored within a 3 minute span to make it a contest.  However, too little, too late and the Pacific Selects win the championship.  Keoni Texeira on defense was very solid all tournament long for the Selects and will be the top dman coming out of the western states no doubt.

In the bronze medal game, the Edmonton Rangers once again took on the Moscow Selects in a re-match of a brawl filled round robin game in which the Moscow team left the bench after a Cole Gammer supposed kick.  In this game, the Edmonton Rangers really took it to Moscow in the game play and went on to a 4-2 victory.  Andrew Marshall and Dylan Stewart each had a 1-1-2 and once again Zach Fischer and Justin Greer scored in the win.  Those players listed as well as Ethan Lazaro are going to be players to watch in the AMBHL this season.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Edmonton Rangers fall 3-2 to Jr. Kings Black

The Carmen Starr Tournament has  come to an end for the lone Canadian team in the tournament by way of a shoot-out this morning in Los Angelas.  The Rangers got goals from Dylan Stewart and Derek Brown.  Dylan Stewart also added an assist for a 2 point game.  In the Shoot-out, the Rangers weren't able to score as Ethan Lazaro and Dylan Stewart were both stopped.  For the LA Jr. Kings Black, it was Brody Stevens scoring one of the goals and he also scored in the shoot-out.  Turcotte had the other shoot-out goal for the Jr. Kings Black.  Brody Stevens has 3-2-5 and is 2nd in tournament scoring.

The Jr. Kings Black will await the winner of the Pacific Selects and Jr. Gulls for the final.

Final Day at Carmen Starr tournament today.

The final day of action at the Carmen Starr Tournament down in Los Angelas is set and it appears we are headed for a Pacific Selects vs. Edmonton Rangers final.  The Jr. Kings Black will take on the Edmonton Rangers in one semi while the undefeated Pacific Selects will take on the Jr. Gulls.  The Jr. Gulls are 0-3-0 and have scored just 2 goals the entire tournament.

Late Saturday Action
Pacific Selects 5 - Jr. Kings Black 2
- Robby Jackson scored the GWG with about 6 minutes remaining in the 2nd period and added one assist while Ty Comrie 0-2-2, Patrick Khodarenko, Keoni Texeira, Aaron Aragon and Evan Weinger also scored for the Pacific Selects in this one.  Weinger and Khodarenko led with 3 goals each.

Edmonton Rangers 3- Moscow 0 (forfeit)
- A bit of a wild one here as Edmonton Rangers Assistant Coach, Adam Manna ejected at 8:23 of the 2nd period for  abuse of officials. Edmonton Rangers player Cole Gammer got a match penalty for kicking a Moscow player, the Moscow team left game bench at 4:06 of 2nd period.  During the actual game play, the same Cole Gammer scored 1-1-2, while Zach Stewart and Ethan Lazaro each scored.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Bradley hopes to lead Vancouver Selects Blue to consistancy

The Vancouver Selects Blue have a very talented team on paper and go in to each tournament with somewhat of a target on their backs.  In the Calgary Champions Cup after running through the opposition in the round robin play going 4-0-0 outscoring the opposition 31-8, they ran into a tough Edmonton Rangers squad who defeated them 4-3 and knocked them out of contention for the title. 

Then at the Vancouver Challenge Cup last weekend, they hit a couple speed bumps in a 2-1 loss to the Saskatoon Jr. Blades and a hard fought semi-final loss to the BC Jr. Heat 5-4 to once again knock themselves out of title contention.

Matt Bradley, a highly regarded forward who played in the 10-11 winter season with Semiahmoo Ravens says they have to play a full 60 minutes in the tournaments, "I think our team is doing very well in winning almost all our games, but for some reason in the semi-final games we've been digging ourselves in to deep of a hole to claw out of".  Bradley feels though that if he can work on his explosiveness that he'll add the dimension needed to help his squad in those key games, "I can play much better", says Bradley.

With a team so loaded in talent from the BC area it can be hard to find roles for all the key players but Bradley feels that a few players are looked at as being key early on.  "Adam Musil likely would've been our top offensive force but he broke his arm in Calgary so after that we look to Tyler Soy and Jordan Kawaguchi for point production".  Bradley also points out a couple defensmeman who have especially been solid, "Noah Jullsen and Daniel Woolfenden have been very, very good for us."  Woolfenden played last season with the Seattle Admirals and really turned heads as a 97 underage at the WHL prospects camp in April.

With just a couple more tournaments on the horizon this summer Matt  has taken notice of a couple players who have really caught his attention from the opposition.  "Brad Morrison from the Vancouver Jr. Giants has been very good as well as defenseman Kevin Davis from the BC Jr. Heat".  Davis, was part of the Kamloops Jardine Blazers squad who won many big tournaments last season as well as KIBIHT.

Heading in to next season, Bradley looks to be a key cog in what he feels will be a very good Semiahmoo Ravens club that he thinks can challenge the BWC in 2011-2012.  "My goal for next year is to be a leader on my team, improve on all aspects throughout the season and hopefully go to westerns".

Carmen Starr Tournament Underway

Every team has now seen action at the Carmen Starr Tournament which is taking place in Los Angelas, CA.  The 97 age group have 4 teams from North America and included in that is a team from Edmonton, AB, featuring many of the names that you'll hear more and more about as the 2011-2012 season approaches and plays out.

Friday Action
Pacific Selects 5 - Edmonton Rangers 2
- The Pacific Selects who are basically the LA Selects who have a pretty powerful team and will have many players that we will be keeping an eye on this coming season skated by the Edmonton Rangers 5-2.  The Pacific Selects got goals from 5 different players with Aaron Aragon picking up 1-1-2 and Robby Jackson adding 2 assists.  A couple of the top ranked players from the western USA in defenseman Keoni Texeira (pictured left) and Evan Weniger were each able to pick up a goal in the win.  For the Edmonton Rangers, Ethan Lazaro scored both goals and Cole Gammer fresh off a 8 goal performance at last weekends Challenge Cup picked up an assist.  Lazaro played AA in the ERBHL last season and scored 20-12-32 with 76 Pims and will be someone to watch this season in the AMBHL.
Pacific Selects goalie Evan Sarthou stopped 9 of 11 shots while starter Tyler Kwiatkowski stopped 9 of 13 before giving way to Matt Murray.

Pacific Selects 6 - LA Kings White 1
- The Selects won their second of the day in convincing fasion with a 6-1 victory.  Evan Weniger scored his 2nd of the tournament and added an assist.  Matthew Oindexter scored a pair and added an assist.  Patrick Khodarenko scored his second of the tournament as well.  Tanner Dalton broke the shutout midway through the 3rd for the Kings White.  Once again Sarthou wasn't very busy stopping 15 of 16.

Edmonton Rangers 4 - LA Kings White 2
- The Edmonton Rangers pick up their first win south of the border led by Zach Fischer with 2 goals which included the game winner in the 3rd.  Defenseman Justin Greer had a big game with 1-2-3 and Derek Brown picking up 2 assists.  Matt Murray stopped 9 of 11 shots.  For the Kings White, Blaise Johnson had 1-1-2.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Carmen Starr Tournament to begin tonight

The Carmen Starr tournament will get underway this evening in Los Angelas.  This tournament will feature the Edmonton Rangers who feature many top players in the 97 age group from the Edmonton area and the Pacific Selects.  There will also be a team from Moscow, the host LA Junior Kings and the San Diego Gulls.  Edmonton and the Pacific Selects will meet tomorrow morning in each of their first games.  There will be updates on this tournament throughout the weekend.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Matt Barzal the next Ryan Nugent-Hopkins?

In our opinion, there is nobody better than Matt Barzal right now in the 1997 age group.  He first turned heads at the prestigious Quebec Peewee International tournament a couple years ago when he ran away with the tournament scoring race by a wide margain against some of the best kids his age in the world.  He followed that up with an appearance at the Western Canada Bantam Championships with the BWC as an under aged 12 yr old player and did very well, not looking out of place at all.  Then this year, he was simply fantastic as a first year player in bantam.  So what is next?  Here is an article done by the Winnipeg Free Press a little while back, enjoy!

Winnipeg Free Press
Though he's just 13 years old, Matthew Barzal is a veteran of hockey's spotlight.

But scouts from the Western Hockey League taking in the action this weekend are going to have to wait. Barzal was born in 1997 and won't be eligible until next year for the WHL's bantam draft.

"Matthew is very gifted. He sees the ice extremely well and understands the game at a level that is so high for his age," said John Batchelor, Burnaby head coach.

"People ask me to explain it. I say it's like he sees the game like you if you are sitting in row 40 and you can see how the game breaks down and the plays you should be making. Well he sees that at full speed on the ice. He's just phenomenal as far as ability to read the ice."

Last year when he was 12, Barzal played in this tournament when Burnaby hosted and the Winnipeg Monarchs won it.

At the 2010 Quebec International Peewee Hockey Tournament, Barzal was the tournament's top scorer with 22 points in seven games, joining a historic group of top players from past tournaments including Wayne Gretzky, Mario Lemieux and Guy Lafleur.

"He reminds me a lot of Ryan Nugent-Hopkins," Batchelor said, referring the former Burnaby player now with the WHL's Red Deer Rebels, where he was third this season in WHL scoring with 106 points.

"He was first overall (2008 WHL draft) and he's got a good chance to go first overall in the NHL."

The 2011 NHL entry draft will be held June 24-25 in St. Paul, Minn.

"To be compared to (Nugent-Hopkins) is just an honour. He's so good," said a poised and polite Barzal. "I try not to worry about any of it (attention), stay positive and try not to listen to that kind of stuff. I try to keep things simple and focus on doing what I can for my team. It's a great program here (Burnaby)."

courtesy - Winnipeg Free Press

* It will be interesting to see where Barzal ends up playing next season.  It seems to be up in the air at this point as to whether he'll return to BWC or take his talents to Shattock St. Mary's south of the border

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

WEHP Announce Top 10 1997 born player rankings

1997 Born Player Rankings
1.   F- Matt Barzal  5-5 130  BWC Bruins  (BC)
2.   D- Aarron Kellogg  6-1  175  Fort Sask.  (AB)
3.   F- Dallas Miller 5-11 194  Winnipeg Sharks (MB)
4.   D- Tanner Browne 6-1 180  Jaun De Fuca (BC)
5.   D- Ryan Gardiner  5-9 130 - Winnipeg Sharks (MB)
6.   F- Giorgio Estephan 5-9 145 - Edmonton SSAC (AB)
7.   F- Nick Merkley 5-7  140 - Calgary Bisons (AB)
8.   F- Adam Musil  5-11 150 - South Delta (BC)
9.   F- Rylee Zimmer 6-0 150 - Notre Dame (MB-SK)
10. D- Ethan Bear 5-9 160 - Melville (SK)

For the rest of the top 140 rankings, please refer to the newsletter.

Challenge Cup Review

The Challenge Cup took place this past long weekend in Vancouver.  The tournament is the largest in western Canada over the summer and gives scouts a bit of a head start on the top prospects from around western Canada in terms of identifying the top talent.  This tournament definately had some suprises in the top grouping of 8 teams as the Jr. Blades, Jr. Flames and Vancouver Jr. Selects were perhaps the early favorites but a couple others teams wouldn't be denied.

The Vancouver Giants led by goaltender Nick McBride, defenseman Eric Lee and Ty Schultz and forwards Jansen Harkins, Brad Morrison and Glenn Gawdin won the final over the BC Jr. Heat.  Brad Morrison had 7 goals in his first 3 games to lead the way, while Gawdin was just behind with 2-5-7.  Nick McBride allowed just 8 goals in 3 games and had a 90.0% save percentage.  The Giants were very impressive in winning all 6 games played including 2 wins over the strong Calgary Jr. Flames by scores of 5-3 and 5-4.  They also had wins over the BC Jr. Heat both in the round robin and final.

The BC Jr. Heat who only had the losses to the Vancouver Giants in the tournament beat the Vancouver Selects in the semi's to reach the final.  They also had a shut-out victory 3-0 over the Jr. Flames in round robin play.  The Heat carry a pretty balanced attack led by a strong defensive core which is 6 deep led by Kevin Davis, Alex Winters and Alex Rasovic.  The offence is led by Chris Seto and Addison Bazien but both underwhelmed to an extent in the viewings where I personally caught them.  Granted though, the Heat do role all lines and players. 

Challenge Cup All-Stars 97 Born (WEHP Opinion) Tier 1
Forward - Tyler Soy - Vancouver Selects Blue
Forward - Nick Merkley - Calgary Maplefsoft Jr. Flames
Forward - Brad Morrison - Vancouver Giants
Defense - Tanner Browne (pictured) - Vancouver Selects Blue
Defense - Alex Winters - BC Heat
Goalie - Nick McBride - Vancouver Giants

Challenge Cup All-Stars 98 Born (WEHP Opinion) Tier 1
Forward - Jaeger White - Vancouver Millionaires
Forward - Sam Steel - Wolverines
Forward - Jake Kryski - Vancouver Millionaires
Defense - David Quennville - Wolverines
Defense - Dante Fabbro - Vancouver Millionaires
Goalie - Tyler Shugroe - Vancouver Millionaires

Wendy's Challenge Manitoba

The Wendy's Challenge took place in Manitoba this past weekend and featured all players from the province of Manitoba.  Many of the top players who are ranked currently on the WEHP Top 140 list took part in the 1997 age group portion of the tournament.  Once again, it realy wasn't much of a surprise that Team Pepsi rolled through the tournament with a perfect 5-0-0 record scoring 58 goals in the process.  In fact, seven of the top eight scorers in the tournament were from Team pepsi with the leader being Colt Conrad with 9-12-21 in 5 games.  Colton Voloso (pictured left) had 10 goals to lead the tournament, while Kirklan Lycar with 12 assists led in that category.

Monday, May 23, 2011

May 25, 2011 newsletter is now ready!

The May 25, 2011 newsletter is now ready. In this edition we update both the 1997 and 1998 player rankings which reflect most of the action caught at the Vancouver Challenge Cup which took place over the May long weekend. Some players surprised and were noticed at the tournament and other dropped a bit.

I had a chance a few days ago to speak with the likely top defenseman currently in the 1997 age group who hails from the hockey hot bed Edmonton area. In another interview, I spoke with a southern Alberta player who is sure to make some noise next season and is rapidly rising. Also, a Saskatchewan defenseman who is flying under the radar but for how long and likes to play rough. Finally, I spoke with a Vancouver area player who compares his style to Alexander Burrows.

Lastly, in an attempt to please the readers south of the border, we will be added an enhanced focus on the western United States 97 age group this year and introduce a Top 50 list, soon to be a Top 100 list as the season draws nearer.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

American Top 100 97 list coming soon

With a larger flux of American born talent coming to the WHL now. We've decided to offer a larger list this season and the rest of the list can be viewed in the newsletter. In the coming issues, I hope to include more interviews and more American content to relfect the talent pool in the western states. Stay tuned for more content on the top players throughout the season on the western American kids.

Top 10 American Forwards, 7 defenseman, 3 goalies (No specific order)
Alec Mehr - LA Selects
Jake Durflinger - Phoenix Jr. Coyotes
Rem Pitlick - Wayzata Trojans
Troy Terry - Colorado Jr. Thunderbirds
Ty Comrie - LA Selects
Evan Weinger - LA Selects
Jesse Gabrielle - Shattuck St. Mary's
Jaren Yatsu - Colorado Thunderbirds
Christian Cakebread - Phoenix Jr. Coyotes
Ethan Price - Omaha Under 16

Keoni Texiera - LA Selects
Daniel Woolfenden - Seattle Admirals
Ben Baker - LA Selects
Zack Goberis - Colorado Thunderbirds
Logan Fauber - Boulder HC
Bo Hanson - Phoenix Jr. Coyotes
Tristan Phillips - Alaska All-Stars

Evan Sarthou - LA Selects
Jeremy Swayman - Alaska All-Stars
Jesse Sepper - Colorado Thunderbirds

Video Vault - Jaeger White

First round candidate Jaeger White on  his record breaking season in the SCAHL.  Jaeger broke Ty Rattie's goal mark and scored 124 goals in just 30 games.  He won the scoring race over Dillon Dube by 55 goals and 49 points.  Jaeger White will be at the challenge Cup this weekend playing with a group of kids from Vancouver.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Monday, May 16th

The POE 97 born spring tournament wrapped up yesterday with the Vancouver Giants defeating the NAA Rebels 10-3 in the final.  The NAA Rebels led by potential #1 overall 2012 WHL bantam draft pick Aaron Kellogg had reeled off 4 straight wins entering the final, including a win over the same Giants in the first game of the tournament.  They outscored the opposition 30-11 in the process.  The Giants who scored 37 goals in the 5 games during the tournament were led by 1st round candidate Justin Szeto who played last year with BWC and Glenn Gawdin who played with Seafair last year.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

POE Spring 97 tournament underway

POE has been a supporter of the WEHP blog/newsletter over the past year since its inception and we would like to put  a bit of focus this weekend on the POE Spring tournament taking place this weekend.  It is a smallish tournament with 8 teams taking part.  Some very good talent on a few of the teams as well who will be high picks for the 2012 WHL bantam draft which is almost a full year away. 

An early battle of two of the better teams at the tournament saw the NAA Rebels who feature perhaps the first defenseman who will be taken next year in Aaron Kellogg defeated the Vancouver Giants 97's 7-4.  The Giants team has a number of what should be top 2 round picks next year with Justin Szeto, Eric Lee, Ty Schultz and Glenn Gawdin.  Justin Szeto led the way for the Giants with 2-1-3 in the loss.  For the NAA Rebels, it was Brendan Guhle and Anthony Sirianni with 2 goals each and Aaron Kellogg figured in with 1-1-2, Reid Bosse and Curtis Miske each had 3 helpers.  In another game of note, it was the Red Stars HC with a convincing 8-3 win over the BC Storm.  Liam Finlay from Kelowna led the way with 5 points (1-4-5), Brandon Whistle 2-2-4, Austin Wellsby 1-2-3.  Finally it was the Island Stars winning 8-0 over the Calgary Cowboys.  Haydn Hopkins from Victoria had 1-2-3 to lead the way.

Action continues this morning.  We'll have more this afternoon.

Also don't forget about the biggest tournament for 97's and 98's all summer taking place in Vancouver next weekend at various locations in the greater Vancouver area.

Monday, May 9, 2011

May 11, 2011 newsletter is ready! New season Launched

Today is the lanch of the 2011-2012 season covering the 1997 and 1998 born prospects for the WHL.
In this edition of the newsletter, we release our preliminary 1997 top 140 rankings which basically covers the first 6 rounds of the draft. Also released is the preliminary 1998 top 50 draft list. Both lists will expand as the season progresses and the players play tournaments over the summer and in to the fall. Heights and weights will also be added when I receive accurrent information in that regard.

I had a chance to speak with our #1 ranked player in the 1998 age group who heads to Texas in the summers to train for hockey. I spoke with one of the top defenseman available for the WHL draft in 2012 whose brother played in the WHL. I spoke with a defenseman who could very well go first overall if he continues at his current pace from the west coast. Finally, I speak with a high scoring Alberta sniper.

Also re-capped is the Calgary Challenge Cup and the teams to watch in summer hockey coming up. We take a look at the up coming tournaments over the next month or two that will be key tournaments.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Pre-Draft Thoughts revisited

Pre Draft Thoughts

I've been asked to do a Mock Draft by many followers of the blog and I stay may today if I hear more definite information on who will pick who at the top. In the mean time, here is a brief summary of what you can expect in the first round of the draft.

- Currently there are three players who are being considered as a the first overall selection tomorrow. Those players are: Ryan Pilon (Warman), Brycen Martin (Calgary Bisons) and Jake Virtanen (Abbotsford). If I were going to venture a guess as to who go's first, it would be D- Brycen Martin.
Result - This did prove to be true but Calgary went with the Forward in the end.  All good prospects.

- There are three defenseman who have pulled away from the rest of the pack. Martin, Pilon and Jordan Thomson. All three should go in the top 6 lottery picks.
Result -  These were the top 3 dmen and all 3 went in the first 4 picks.

- Jake Virtanen is the consensus #1 overall forward in the draft. He will go in the top 3 picks. After Virtanen, forwards such as: Duke, Mappin, Gardiner, Warkentine, Bleackley and Gropp will all go soon after.
Result - Virtanen was the top forward taken, Duke, Mappin and Gropp all went right after.  Bleackley and Warkentine were first rounders.

- This is a very strong draft for the province of Saskatchewan. There could be as many as 8 and atleast 6 players from the province to go in the first round. And between 12-15 kids in the top 2 rounds. To put that in perspective. The province has just over a million people, while Alberta and BC have around 4 times as many. I would be surprise to see Warkentine, Gardiner, Pilon, Harris, Shirley or Chartier fall out of the first round.
Result- Saskatchewan had 6 players taken in the first round.  And there were between 12-15 kids picked in the first 2 round and that number was 13.  All 6 players listed where the only ones taken in the first round.

- To narrow it down further in terms of Saskatchewan talent. The City of Saskatoon could have as many as 4 first rounders alone. Collin Shirley and Rourke Chartier are considered definite first rounders, while high scoring Kolten Olynek and Braden Oleksyn who played midget hockey with Beardy's are borderline.
Result - Saskatoon had Shirley and Chartier go in the first round as projected.

- The province of B.C. may have as few as 3 first rounders this year. After Ryan Gropp and Jake Virtanen who should be top 10 picks, it is far from having another sure-fire first rounder. Joe Hicketts is a true wildcard as he could be picked very high or fall until the later portions of the 2nd round. Riley Stadel from Cloverdale will get consideration and some still like Sandhu. A player getting lots of consideration now and seems to be vaulting up the ranks is big Lucas Mercer from BWC.
Result - BC only had 3 players taken in the first round as projected.  Hicketts was taken in the first round in the end where we had him.  Sandhu and Stadel both slipped and didn't quite make it.  Mercer did vaulted up as well.

- Manitoba only has one forsure first round selection in Jordan Thomson from Souris. High scoring Adam Brooks is another possibility.
Result - Thomson was the only player taken in the first round as though.  Brooks fell just out of the round.
- 5'5 130 Brayden Point is another wildcard in the draft. There is no denying how skilled the player is, but whether that can translate to the WHL is another question. He could go first round with a team who has multiple picks or fall to the 3rd round.
Result - Point proved to be a wildcard and was picked at 14th overall.  Not surprising at all.  He did go first round to a team with multiple picks in the end.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Position Ranking to Actual

1.  Jake Virtanen (Calgary Hitmen)  WEHP Ranking 1st
2.  Reid Duke (Lethbridge Hurricanes)  WHEP Ranking 3rd
3.  Ryan Gropp (Seattle Thunderbirds)  WEHP Ranking 2nd
4.  Ty Mappin (Everett Silvertips)  WEHP Ranking 5th
5.  Reid Gardiner (Prince Albert Raiders)  WEHP Ranking 4th
6.  Brayden Point (Moose Jaw Warriors)  WEHP Ranking 16th ** Ranked between 8-30 all year.
7.  Rourke Chartier (Kelowna Rockets)  WEHP Ranking  10th
8.  Miles Warkentine (Moose Jaw Warriors)  WEHP Ranking 7th
9.  Collin Shirley (Kootenay Ice)  WEHP Ranking 13th
10. Blake Penner (Medicine Hat)  WEHP Ranking 15th
11. Tanner Macmaster (Spokane Chiefs)  WEHP Ranking 8th
12. Thomas Foster (Vancouver Giants)  WEHP Ranking 31st
13. Conner Bleakley (Red Deer Rebels)  WEHP Ranking 6th
14. Dakota Odgers (Swift Current Broncos)  WEHP Ranking NR- Injury most of season
15. Adam Brooks ( Regina Pats)  WEHP Ranking 11th
16. Kolten Olynek (Lethbridge Hurricanes)  WEHP Ranking 12th
17. Carter Amson (Lethbridge Hurricanes)  WEHP Ranking 19th
18. Mitchell Walter (Edmonton Oilkings)  WEHP Ranking 6th round
19. Jayce Hawryluk (Brandon Wheatkings)  WEHP Ranking 35th
20. Josh Uhrich (Moose Jaw Warriors)  WEHP Ranking 23rd

1.  Brycen Martin (Swift Current)  WEHP Ranking 2nd
2.  Ryan Pilon (Lethbridge)  WEHP Ranking 1st
3.  Jordan Thomson (Kamloops)  WEHP Ranking 3rd
4.  Aaron Irving (Edmonton)  WEHP 5th
5.  Jordan Harris (Prince George) WEHP Ranking 8th
6.  Zach Gonek (Swift Current)  WEHP Ranking 4th
7.  Joe Hicketts (Victoria) WEHP Ranking 6th
8.  Josh Thrower (Calgary)  WEHP Ranking 11th
9.  Austin Douglas (Seattle)  WEHP Ranking 28th
10. Jake Kohlhauser (Vancouver) NR
11. Zach Patterson ( Portland)  WEHP Ranking 10th
12. Reid Zalitach (Vancouver)  WEHP Ranking 35th
13. Haydn Fleury (Red Deer)  WEHP Ranking 7th
14. Ben Thomas (Calgary) WEHP 30th
15. Griffin Mumby (Regina) WEHP Ranking 13th

1.  Jordan Papirny (Brandon)  WEHP Ranking 1st
2.  Payton Lee (Vancouver)  WEHP Ranking 2nd
3.  Rylan Paranteau (Prince Albert)  WEHP 6th
4.  Derek Mazil (Edmonton) WEHP Ranking 7th
5.  Thomas Spence (Kelowna)  WEHP Ranking NR
6.  Alec Dillon (Swift Current)  WEHP Ranking 8th
7.  Grant Naherniak (Red Deer)  WEHP Ranking 4th
8.  Ryan Rewarts( Saskatoon)  WEHP Ranking NR
9.  Dylan France (Everett)  WEHP Ranking 11th
10. Nolan Kruizenga WEHP Ranking 12th

Post Draft Thoughts

First of all, it is a bit sad to see the season end for this group of bantam players and parents.  This was the first year of business for our publication and blog and the parents and players I had the pleasure to deal with this year will be tough to beat.

I just wanted to run through the western elite hockey prospects list and compare it to what transpired and determine if it is a valid venture to continue to pursue in future years or not.  It is next to impossible to project who will actually go where in terms of team selection, it just takes one team to through the draft order off.  I'm more wanting to consider the provincial top 10-15 for each province and the ranking by the first rew rounds as well as position, so here we go!

British Columbia - Top 10
1.   F-  Jake Virtanen 1st (Calgary Hitmen)  WEHP Ranking (1st province, 3rd overall)
2.   F-  Ryan Gropp 6th (Seattle Thunderbirds)  WEHP Ranking (2nd province, 4th overall)
3.   D- Joe Hicketts 12th (Victoria WHL Club)  WEHP Ranking (3rd province, 16th overall)
Second Round
4.   D- Josh Thrower 23rd (Calgary Hitmen)  WEHP Ranking (5th province, 24th overall)
5.   G- Payton Lee 28th (Vancouver Giants)  WEHP Ranking (1st Goalie, 2nd Goalie overall)
6.   F- Mitchell Walter 31st (Edmonton Oil Kings)  WEHP Ranking (6th round)
7.   F- Ryan Simpson 35th (Vancouver Giants) WEHP Ranking (6th round)
8.   F- Tyler Sandhu 42nd (Portland Winterhawks) WEHP Ranking (7th province, 33rd overall)
Third Round
9.   F- Michael Holub 49th overall (Seattle Thunderbirds)  WEHP *limited reports/viewing
10. D- Riley Stadel 51st overall (Kelowna Rockets)  WEHP Ranking (4th province, 22nd overall)

The top 5 look pretty much bang on in terms of what teams actually picked and Peyton Lee was the 2nd best goalie in the end as well.  Tyler Sandhu did slip to the 2nd round as projected.  However, it is apparent we missed the boat on Ryan Simpson and Michael Holub as well as Mitchell Walter being selected so high.  Other than that, our top 7 BC prospects all went in the top 10 picks for the province, not bad I guess.

Alberta - Top 10
1.   D- Brycen Martin 2nd (Swift Current Broncos)  WEHP Ranking (1st province, 2nd overall)
2.   F- Reid Duke 5th (Lethbridge Hurricanes)  WEHP Ranking (2nd province, 5th overall)
3.   F- Ty Mappin 7th (Everett Silvertips)  WEHP Ranking (3rd province, 7th overall)
4.   D- Aaron Irving 9th (Edmonton Oilkings)  WEHP Ranking (6th province, 12th overall)
5.   D/F - Kord Pankewicz 11th (Brandon Wheatkings)  WEHP Ranking (13th province, 31st overall)**
6.   D- Zach Gonek 13th (Swift Current Broncos)  WEHP Ranking (5th province, 11th overall)
7.   F- Brayden Point 14th (Moose Jaw Warriors)  WEHP Ranking (10th province, 26th overall) **
8.   F- Blake Penner 18th (Medicine Hat Tigers)  WEHP Ranking (9th province, 25th overall)
9.   F- Tanner Macmaster 19th (Spokane Chiefs)  WEHP Ranking (7th province, 13th overall)
10.   F- Thomas Foster 20th (Vancouver Giants)  WEHP Ranking (20th province, 3rd Round)

No real surprises at all here as was the case in a few instances from BC.  The only players who were in the WEHP top 10 from the province not pick in that range were Conner Bleakley who was ranked 4th in the province and 9th overall but he still went in the first round.  The other was our 8th ranked Albertan John Quennville who fell all the way to the 3rd round.  I still like his two-way game potential and Brandon may have a good one at that spot.  Jordan Papirny our top ranked goalie went in the first round as well.  The only players who vaulted up to the first round were: Kord Pankewicz but in fairness to Kord, we had him in the first round for most of the year and it was un clear in terms of whether his forward/Defense back and forth situation would hurt him.  Thomas Foster isn't a huge surprise to be drafted in the first round or as the 10th overall from the province but it is sure a minor surprise regardless.  All and all pretty good.  Brayden Point is not surprising at all to be picked that high, he could went higher or lower and we ranked him in the middle at 26th.

Saskatchewan - Top 10
1-   D- Ryan Pilon 3rd (Lethbridge Hurricanes)  WEHP Ranking (1st province, 1st overall)
2.   F-  Reid Gardiner 8th (Prince Albert Raiders)  WEHP Ranking (2nd province, 7th overall)
3.   D-  Jordan Harris 10th (Prince George Cougars)  WEHP Ranking (6th province, 20th overall)
4.   F-  Rourke Chartier 15th (Kelowna Rockets)  WEHP Ranking (4th province, 15th overall)
5.   F-  Miles Warkentine 16th (Moose Jaw Warriors) WEHP Ranking (3rd province, 10th overall)
6.   F-  Collin Shirley 17th (Kootenay Ice)  WEHP Ranking (7th province, 21st overall)
Second Round
7.   F- Dakota Odgers 24th (Swift Current)  WEHP Ranking (NR due to injury all year) Top 10 talent
8.   F- Kolten Olynek 26th (Lethbridge Hurricanes) WEHP Ranking (5th province, 18th overall)
9.   F- Carter Amson 29th (Lethbridge Hurricanes)  WHEP Ranking (10th province, 35th overall)
10. F- Josh Uhrich 33rd (Moose Jaw Warriors)  WEHP Ranking (12th province, 44th overall)

Again, we missed just two picks here in the top 10 from this province as our 8th and 9th ranked Saskatchewan kids in Rhett Gardner and Braden Oleksyn were replaced by Dakota Odgers (NR) and Josh Uhrich (12th).  Neither are a suprise as Odgers was regarded as a top 15 pick prior to his injury in the entire draft and Uhrich went right where he should.

Manitoba - Top 10
1.   D- Jordan Thomson 4th (Kamloops Blazers)  WHEP Ranking (1st province, 6th overall)
Second Round
2.   F- Adam Brooks 25th (Regina Pats)  WEHP Ranking (2nd province, 17th overall)
3.   D- Austin Douglas 27th (Seattle Thunderbirds)  WEHP Ranking (10th province, 3rd round)
4.   F- Jayce Hawryluk 32nd (Brandon Wheatkings)  WEHP Ranking (7th province, 3rd round)
5.   F- Dane Schioler 36th (Regina Pats)  WEHP Ranking (6th province, 3rd round)
6.   D- Reid Zalitach 38th (Vancouver Giants)  WEHP Ranking (11th province, 4th round)
4th Round
7.   D- Kristjon Finnson 74th (Prince Albert)  WEHP Ranking (NR - limited viewing)
8.   F- Dallas Starodub 77th (Brandon Wheatkings) WEHP Ranking (5th province, 3rd round)
9.   D- Taylor Fisher 78th (Prince Albert Raiders)  WEHP Ranking (3rd province, 2nd round)
5th Round
10. F- Michael Fortin 92nd (Portland Winterhawks) WEHP Ranking (NR - limited viewing)

Traditionally the most difficult province to scout.  Our 4th ranked prospect from the province David Dunn fell to the 6th round and the 8th and 9th ranked players Ryley Lindgren and Brett Kitt fell out of the top 10 but I'm a believer still in both those players that they should've made it higher.  Although Kitt went 11th in the province and Lindgren 12th overall in the province and David Dunn went 13th in the province.  So our the WEHP Top 10, they all went in the top 13.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

You can follow me on Twitter today

You can find the twitter updates over there on the right side of the page.

I'll have some brief thoughts throughout the draft.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Audio Interview Link

For those of you sick and tired of reading the blog, I have an alternative for you.  You can click on the link supplied below for a 17 minute audio interview I did with Shawn Mullin of the Eagle 94.1 Swift Current.  Pretty much gives a bit of a preview on what to expect tomorrow.

More later

Pre Draft Thoughts

I've been asked to do a Mock Draft by many followers of the blog and I stay may today if I hear more definite information on who will pick who at the top.  In the mean time, here is a brief summary of what you can expect in the first round of the draft.

- Currently  there are three players who are being considered as a the first overall selection tomorrow.  Those players are:  Ryan Pilon (Warman), Brycen Martin (Calgary Bisons) and Jake Virtanen (Abbotsford).  If I were going to venture a guess as to who go's first, it would be D- Brycen Martin. 

- There are three defenseman who have pulled away from the rest of the pack.  Martin, Pilon and Jordan Thomson.  All three should go in the top 6 lottery picks.

- Jake Virtanen is the consensus #1 overall forward in the draft.  He will go in the top 3 picks.  After Virtanen, forwards such as: Duke, Mappin, Gardiner, Warkentine, Bleackley and Gropp will all go soon after.

- This is a very strong draft for the province of Saskatchewan.  There could be as many as 8 and atleast 6 players from the province to go in the first round.  And between 12-15 kids in the top 2 rounds.  To put that in perspective.  The province has just over a million people, while Alberta and BC have around 4 times as many.  I would be surprise to see Warkentine, Gardiner, Pilon, Harris, Shirley or Chartier fall out of the first round.

- To narrow it down further in terms of Saskatchewan talent.  The City of Saskatoon could have as many as 4 first rounders alone.  Collin Shirley and Rourke Chartier are considered definite first rounders, while high scoring Kolten Olynek and Braden Oleksyn who played midget hockey with Beardy's are borderline.

- The province of B.C. may have as few as 3 first rounders this year.  After Ryan Gropp and Jake Virtanen who should be top 10 picks, it is far from having another sure-fire first rounder.  Joe Hicketts is a true wildcard as he could be picked very high or fall until the later portions of the 2nd round.  Riley Stadel from Cloverdale will get consideration and some still like Sandhu.  A player getting lots of consideration now and seems to be vaulting up the ranks is big Lucas Mercer from BWC.

-  Manitoba only has one forsure first round selection in Jordan Thomson from Souris.  High scoring Adam Brooks is another possibility.

- 5'5 130 Brayden Point is another wildcard in the draft.  There is no denying how skilled the player is, but whether that can translate to the WHL is another question.  He could go first round with a team who has multiple picks or fall to the 3rd round.

More thoughts later.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Thank you all for a great season

I would just like to write a very warm thank-you for everyone who has supported the newsletter/blog this season.  It truely has been a pleasure to work with this group of parents, players, scouts and others who have helped make the newsletter and blog a great success.  Without the help of some of you, all of this wouldn't be possible and it likely wouldn't have lasted more than a month or two.  For every negative comment I received, I got 50 positive ones.  For all this, I sincerely thank-you!

As the bantam draft comes around on May 5, 2011 and passes, the focus will shift fairly quickly to the 97 and 98 age groups and we'll start it all up once again.

Best of luck to all the 96 born players on Thursday for the bantam draft.  All players have to remember as well that the draft isn't the be all and end all of a hockey career.  If you are drafted, you still have to work your tail off to get to the next level.  If you aren't drafted, you still have to work your tail off to get to the next level.  Scouting is far from a science and there is lots of time to work on skills and put in to it what you wish to get out of it.  As for the list supplied by western elite hockey prospects, the only list that truely matters in the end is that of the scouts of WHL teams.  Every team will have a somewhat different list and we'll just all have to wait and see how events shake down.  Just because you are low on this list, doesn't mean a team won't like you much higher and visa versa.

Best of luck once again to the families, players and WHL teams making selections on Thursday!

Top 10 USA Bantam Prospects

It should be noted that Players can move up and down very easily on this list due to 100% comittment etc.  Certain players were not included due to the fact they've showed very little interest in joining the WHL at this point anyway.  Brian Williams and Ryan Tait are a just a couple examples of this.

1.   F- Matt Jones  - Arizona 95 AAA - 5-10  170 
2.   F- Steven Owre -  L.A. Selects -  5-8  143
3.   F- Taylor Vickerman - Spokane Jr. Chiefs  6-0  175
4.   F- Kienen Scott - Spokane Jr. Chiefs  5-9  150
5.   D- Carson Vance - Phoenix Jr. Coyotes  5-7  148
6.   D- David Dziezawiec - Pikes Peak Miners  5-10  147
7.   F- Chris Koukis - POE - 5-9  150
8.   G- Daniel Mumaugh - Colorado Thunderbirds  5-11  160
9.   F- Scott Eansor - Colorado Thunderbirds  5-10  155
10. D- Johnny Walker - Phoenix Jr. Coyotes  6-0  164

Top 10 Small Players in the draft

We continue our countdown to the draft today with the top 10 small players.  Some of the top players over the years have been on the small side such as Brandon Kozun, Brendan Gallagher and Tyler Ennis amongst many others.  In the past Theo Fleury, Dale Derkatch and Todd Holt were some of the best scorers the league has ever seen.  Slowly, the thought is starting to sway away from just relying on the big sized kids.

1.   D- Joe Hicketts - Kamloops Jardine Blazers  5-6 169  53GP  20-41-61  52PIM
2.   F- Kolten Olynek - Saskatoon Outlaws  5-7  150 
3.   F- Rourke Chartier - Saskatoon Stallions  5-7 140
4.   F- Brayden Point - Calgary Bisons  5-5  130  33GP  42-60-102  12PIM
5.   F- Tyler Wong - Airdrie Xtreme  5-7  155  33GP  49-52-101  48PIM
6.   F- Chad Butcher - Kamloops Jardine Blazers  5-7 143  55GP  63-72-135  76PIM
7.   F- Justin Loepker - Spokane Jr. Chiefs 
8.   F- Lance Yaremchuk - Prince Albert Pirates  5-7  140  20GP  41-28-69  24PIM
9.   F- Mitchell Lipon - Regina Hurricanes  5-6  125  22GP  25-16-41  50PIM
10. F- Mack Bauer - Airdrie Xtreme  5-7  135  33GP  35-37-72  24PIM

Honorable Mentions
Francis Bamford - Abbotsford
Josh McCulloch - Calgary Royals
Colby Chartier - Airdrie Xtreme
Adam Wowryk - Winnipeg Hawks
Mitchell Skapski - Abbotsford
Ben Duppereault - Notre Dame
Ryan Kelm - POE
Keanu Yamomoto - Spokane
Max Nylander - San Jose
Patrick Newell - LA Selects

Monday, May 2, 2011

Manitoba Bantam Draft Top 10

1.   D- Jordan Thomson - Southwest Cougars (Midget)  6-0  167  40GP  2-14-16  42PIM
2.   F- Adam Brooks - Winnipeg Hawks  5-9  153  30GP  53-37-90  10PIM
3.   D- Reid Zalitach - Winnipeg Sharks  6-0  165  30GP  5-17-22  22PIM
4.   D- Austin Douglas - Winnipeg Warriors  6-4  171  25GP  3-4-7  57PIM
5.   F- Dallas Starodub - Winnipeg Hawks  6-0  160  30GP  28-28-56  34PIM
6.   D- Taylor Fisher - Winnipeg Warriors  6-1  225  30GP  18-28-46  68PIM
7.   D- Brett Kitt - Brandon Wheatkings  6-0  175  28GP  16-12-28  84PIM
8.   D- Travis Sanheim - Elkhorn  5-10  150
9.   F- Ryley Lindgren - Winnipeg Sharks  5-10  145  30GP  21-24-45  20PIM
10. F- Jayce Hawryluk - Russell Rams  5-8 150

Saskatchewan Bantam Draft Top 10

1.   D- Ryan Pilon  - Warman Wildcats  6-1.5  170  21GP  28-20-48  48PIM
2.   F- Reid Gardiner - Humboldt Broncos  5-11  162  24GP  50-31-81  20PIM
3.   F- Miles Warkentine - Prince Albert Pirates  6-0  165  21GP  33-37-70  39PIM
4.   F- Rourke Chartier - Saskatoon Stallions  5-7.5  145
5.   F- Kolten Olynek - Saskatoon Outlaws  5-7  150  41GP  76-54-130  28PIM
6.   D- Jordan Harris - Prince Albert Pirates  6-1  170  23GP  10-24-34  28PIM
7.   D- Haydn Fleury - Notre Dame Hounds  6-1  175  21GP  7-19-26  30PIM
8.   F- Collin Shirley - Saskatoon Bandits  5-11 150
9.   F- Rhett Gardner - Moose Jaw Warriors  6-1  175  22GP  27-14-41  84PIM
10. F- Braden Oleksyn - Beardys Midget AAA  5-10  180  43GP  19-22-41  42GP

Alberta Bantam Draft Top 10

1.   D- Brycen Martin - Calgary Bisons  6-0  155  31GP  6-36-42  60PIM
2.   F- Reid Duke - Calgary Royals  5-10  160  30GP  28-36-64  79PIM
3.   F- Ty Mappin - Red Deer Rebels White  5-10  154  33GP  37-34-71  66PIM
4.   F- Conner Bleakley - Okotoks Oilers  5-11  170  29GP  36-32-68  62PIM
5.   D- Aaron Irving - SSAC Southgate Lions  6-0  165  33GP  6-12-18  43PIM
6.   D- Zach Gonek - St. Albert 6-1  185  28GP  9-13-22  28PIM
7.   F- Tanner Macmaster - Calgary Bisons  5-8  135  32GP  49-43-92  80PIM
8.   F- John Quennville - SSAC Southgate Lions  6-0  180  33GP  35-40-75  52PIM
9.   D- Zach Patterson - SSAC Southgate Lions  5-9.5  152  29GP  9-15-24  12PIM
10. F- Blake Penner - Notre Dame Hounds  5-8.5  153  24GP  42-26-68  40PIM

British Columbia Bantam Top 10

British Columbia
1.   F- Jake Virtanen - Abbotsford Hawks  5-11  164  55GP  62-45-107  124PIM
2.   F- Ryan Gropp - Kamloops Jardine Blazers  6-0  146  52GP  56-57-113  75PIM
3.   D- Joe Hicketts - Kamloops Jardine Blazers  5-6  169  53GP  20-41-61  52PIM
4.   D- Riley Stadel - Cloverdale Colts  5-10  158  30GP  18-22-40  56PIM
5.   D- Josh Thrower - POE  5-11  172  46GP  8-15-23  59PIM
6.   F- Tyler Sandhu - Seafair Islanders  5-10  148  40GP  46-45-91  14PIM
7.   F- Spencer Meyer - Surrey Thunder  5-10  144
8.  D/F- Mike Bell - Kitimat  5-11  185
9.   D- Shaun Dosanjh - Seafair Islanders  6-0  165  39  7-20-27  60PIM
10. F-  Landyn Hickmott - Mission Stars  5-10  168 

Peyton Lee and Jordan Papirny Interviews

It seems to have become clear that Jordan Papirny from SSAC Southgate Lions in the Edmonton area and Peyton Lee who played with the Pursuit of Excellence Hockey Academy have separated themselves from the pack for goalies.  Jordan Papirny was the top goalie in virtually ever tournament that SSAC participated in and was a standout at westerns and the Alberta Cup.  Peyton Lee is coming off a great BC Cup and stand out season with POE.

Peyton Lee
Pursuit of Excellence (OMAHA)
5-11  165

Explain some of your most vivid memories from your minor hockey days growing up in Cranbrook both on a personal and team level?

I have made a lot of friends throughout the years playing hockey in Cranbrook. Also I have many memories of long bus trips, and early morning practices.

What was the decision behind attending Pursuit of Excellence Hockey program in Kelowna? How do you feel it has made you develop this season?
My family and I decided that going to Pursuit of Excellence would help me with my development of hockey and life skills. I think that pursuit has helped me with a lot of things so far this year; the quality of coaching and training that we get will help me, and my team-mates in our goals of becoming better hockey players.

You are widely regarded as one of the top goalies for the WHL Bantam Draft this spring. What do you think sets you apart from some of the other goalies in your age class?
I think my size and mobility, as well as competitive nature have helped me so far in hockey.

What weaknesses are you currently working on to excel both in midget hockey and junior hockey town the road?
I'm currently working on my flexibility and trying to improve on all aspects of my game.

Which NHL goalie would you like to pattern your game after and why?
Cam Ward and Carey Price are to goalies that I would like to pattern my game after because I grew up watching them play in the WHL, and I feel that they are two of the top goalies in the NHL.

What future hockey goals have you set for yourself and what will it take to achieve those goals?
I would like to be one of the top goalies selected in this year’s WHL bantam draft and would like to be selected to play on team BC. In order to achieve those goals, I will have to continue to work hard on and off the ice.

Jordan Papirny
SSAC Southgate Lions (AMBHL)
5-10  145
Last season you were one of the top goalies in the ambhl as a first year goalie. What was the biggest reason for that type of success?

Well I hate to take credit for it all because i had outstanding team mates in front of me helping me out. My goal for last year was to just work as hard and I can and never stop giving it all that I got and at the end of it all have no regrets

What minor hockey memory sticks out in your mind the most?
Peewee Tier 1 when we played against Calgary Blackfoot in provincials. They had never lost a game all season and we beat them 5-1, i had 31 saves. Brycen Martin, Brayden Point were on the Calgary team.

This season, you once again have outstanding numbers. Explain what type of goaltender you are and who you model your game after?
Im not really sure what style I play but i just try and stop the puck in the simplest way possible with no rebound. My favorite goalie in the NHL is Carey Price, I try to mold my game around his (obviously i try to be more consistent) but as long as the puck is out of the net then I'm happy.

Do you think you have what it takes to perhaps play in the WHL some day and what do you think you will have to work on to make it?
I'm not too concerned about the WHL right now, we got a long season ahead of us and if i keep focused and working hard, hopefully i can get to that next level

Top USA Prospect Taylor Vickerman

Taylor Vickerman
Spokane Jr. Chiefs Bantam AAA
6-0 175
April 12, 1996

Explain a little bit first about where you played your minor hockey and some of the main highlights growing up playing the game?
I started playing when I was about 3-years-old in the beginner’s program in Tri-Cities, Washington. I played in Tri-Cities through peewees. This year I am playing for the Spokane Jr. Chiefs Bantam AAA team coached by Cam Severson. Some of my main team highlights are from this year. We’ve won several tournaments including the Washington State Tier I Championship. And we go to San Jose March 3-6 for the Pacific District Championships and are looking to go to Nationals from there. Some of my main individual highlights are being selected for the USA Hockey Select-14 National Festival last summer and getting to play for Coach Severson this year. I won fastest skater at the Seafair tournament which was pretty cool.

As you have progressed through the ranks, it has become apparent that you are one of the better players in Washington State. How would you compare the caliber of hockey in the US Northwest to some of the Canadian players or teams?
Hockey is different in all parts of North America. But for me, the type of hockey I like is drive-to-the-net and hard work -- which is in both the western US and Canada. Our team has played well against some good BC teams this year. Our next big test against some of the top teams from BC will be at KIBIHT in April. But I definitely love playing in Canada. The hockey is so good up there. I’ve probably played more games in Canada than in the US this year.

What are your plans for the next couple seasons as you move on to midget hockey? Do you plan on staying in the US or perhaps heading north of the border?
I am definitely looking to join a top midget program – either in the US or Canada. I’m just looking for a program with solid coaching, that will help me progress in developing my skills and that will help me get to the next level. I haven’t committed to a program for next year yet.

 Do you have interest in playing in the WHL and if so, how much are you starting to think about the US prospects camp and the draft afterwards?
I’ll just put my game out there and see what happens. I just want to play at the highest level possible. Whatever direction that is I am open to it.

What skills set you apart right now from some of the other players in your age group?
I think of myself as a big power forward with skill and hockey sense. I like playing with a strong work ethic and a passion to win. Even though I like to drive hard to the net, I also take pride in my passing and my stats show that I can be an assist guy as well.

What weaknesses in your game would you like to work on to get your game to the next level?
I want to continue working on my speed. My skating coach is helping me
me with that. And I want to work on finding open ice.

Finally, which NHL or WHL players do you look up to in terms of hockey skill, talent or leadership? Who would you like to pattern your game after?
I look up to Tyler Johnson because he’s at the top in the WHL in points, he’s smart with the puck, and he’s such a great skater. In the NHL, I like Jonathan Toews because he’s a big guy like me and I study how he goes to the corners and always comes out with the puck and uses his body with strength and confidence. I would like to pattern my game after Alex Ovechkin. He goes into the corners with speed and isn’t afraid to get rough. Plus he has great hands and a great shot.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Sunday, May 1st

Top 10 Scoring Leaders BC Cup
1.   Spencer Meyer  6-4-10
2.   Chase Lang  7-3-10
3.   Mitchell Walter  5-3-8
4.   Carter Hikichi 3-4-7
5.   Mike Bell  2-5-7
6.   Brandon Wagner  4-2-6
7.   Lein Miller-Jeonotte  4-2-6
8.   David Osborne  4-2-6
9.   Jarad Virtanen  3-3-6
10. Carson Bolduc  5-0-5

Top 5 Defenseman Leaders
1.   Joe Hicketts  1-4-5
2.   Matt Dawson 1-2-3
3.   Michael McEachern  1-2-3
4.   Gen Bryshun  0-3-3
5.   Dalton York 1-1-2

Western Elite Hockey Prospects Notables
1.   Jake Virtanen  4-0-4
2.   Ryan Gropp  2-0-2
3.   Alec Dawydiak 3-2-5
4.   Francis Bamford  2-3-5
5.   Landyn Hickmott  2-0-2
6.   Cam Seto  1-0-1
7.   Mitch Friesen  1-0-1
8.   Brandon Del Grosso  0-1-1
9.   Riley Stadel  0-0-0
10. Brett Mennear  0-0-0

The Calgary Champions Cup is underway and we are gradually starting to shift the focus from the 96 and 97 born players to the 97 and 98 groups.  Most of the best summer hockey teams and many of the top players in these age groups are taking part in both age groups.  Once again in the 97 age group, it looks like the Saskatoon Jr. Blades, Calgary Jr. Flames and the Vancouver Selects Blue looks to be loaded with prospects in the 97 age group.

 The Vancouver Selects Blue were  the only undefeated team in the round-robin portion going 4-0-0 while outscoring the opposition 31-8.  The Vancouver squad are led by Adam Musil (brother of Vancouver Giants defenseman David), Jordan Kawaguchi, Tyler Soy, Darien Craighead (son of former NHLer John), Matt Bradley and Ty Ronning (son of cliff).  On defense, big Tanner Browne who looks to be a sure fire top 10 pick next year, Noah Jullsen and American Daniel Woolfenden.  Goalies Evan Sarthou from the US and Quinton Paille have been with this program for a few years now.

The Saskatoon Jr. Blades are once again a powerhouse and the team has almost all of the top end players in the province.  The Jr. Blades went 3-0-1 outscoring the opposition 27-8.  Up front, Rylee Zimmer who looks like another sure fire top 10 pick and will be playing with Notre Dame is one of the offensive leaders.  Terrell Draude, Matt Campese, Regan Nagy and small shifty Jimmy Lambert add ample offence.  The back-end is deep just like Vancouver and really doesn't have a weakness.  Tate Olson from Saskatoon is very good and Lochlan Morrison along with Mike Eskra are elite.

The Calgary Jr. Flames are once again strong but perhaps not as strong as last years squad that was just loaded from top to bottom.  The Flames in the tournament are 3-1-0 and have outscored the opposition 22-10.  They lost to the BC Jr Heat 5-4 and narrowly defeated the POE Red Stars 4-3.  Mason McCarty, Nick Merkley and Ryan Barrow will give the team some dangerous scoring while on defense Savi Scalise, Marshall Burr and Oliver Lester are very capable.  Riley Morris and Jake Morrissey handle the goaltending duties.

The NAA Rangers from the Edmonton are are also 3-1-0 and round out the last of the so-called dangerous teams.  Up front Dylan Stewart and Andrew Marshall look to be dangerous with good speed and skill.  On Defense, Clayton Eisler and Dylan Overdyk are smooth skating defenseman will skill.  Tyler Kwiatkowski will handle many of the big games in goal for the Rangers this summer.

Also, stay tuned to the final Mock Draft that I will post on the site Tuesday.  I'm just waiting for some final notes to come my way and for the BC Cup to be completed.  I'm not too sure if Virtanen and Gropp have hurt their ranking or not by having a bit of an off weekend and not tearing it up like many of us thought they may.  One weekend certainly doesn't make a season but a bit more domination was expected.