Thursday, May 2, 2013

Alberta Rules the Bantam Draft

I'll be honest for me the best hockey province is Manitoba, but that's because I'm was born and raised in Brandon, learned to skate on the ice of the East End Community Centre and used to play in a barn during a Christmas coaches tournament every year.  But having lived in Alberta for more then 10 years, it's hard not to think that this is the best province for producing players when you consider the population.  If that was ever in doubt, today's WHL bantam draft cleared that up.

For the first time in 12 years an Albertan was taken first overall when Vancouver did what most expected them to do in selecting South Side Athletic Club sniper Tyler Benson first overall.  Kyle Chipchura was the last Albertan when Prince Albert called his name first in 2001.  The bantam draft was very different then.  It has exploded now to where it's even being broadcast on the league website.

Back to Benson, he was going to be a Giant all along and that was evident by his Dad showing up at Mount Carmel School today with a Vancouver jersey.  You can see what his day was like in a story from Global's John Sexsmith here.
Sherwood Park News

At number 2 Sam Steele became a Regina Pat, and it was almost like destiny as Kevin Karius put it (same clip as above)  A few years ago the Pats stopped at the Steel acreage in Sherwood Park and he skated with them.  They even have some Pats Jersey's hanging up, and now Steel has one of his own.

Benson and Steel were playoff foes when the South Side Athletic Club knocked out the Kings on route to a Western Canadian Championship.  What happens to winning teams? Their players get drafted.  2 of Benson's mates defenceman David Quenneville went 10th to Medicine Hat and goaltender Stuart Skinner was taken 17th by Lethbridge.

In all 10 of the first 22 picks are from Alberta, with 8 coming from Red Deer north, and that was just the first round!!!

For the complete Bantam draft, click here.

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