It was a big day for 2004 birth year players around the province Friday as each of the 12 teams in the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League added to their prospect pool during the league’s annual bantam draft in Nipawin.
The Prince Albert Venice House Pirates were well represented during the course of the morning as four players from last year’s roster were selected.
Forward Matthew Henry, who led the team in scoring with 45 points in 29 games, was picked 11th overall by the defending league champion Battlefords North Stars.
Blueliner Cole Tanchuk, who had 34 points in 30 games and was a fifth round pick of the Seattle Thunderbirds in the WHL Bantam Draft, was taken in the second round by the Flin Flon Bombers.
Defenceman Linden Gamble, who had 12 points in 31 games, and forward Ryan Lepitzki, who was second in team scoring with 35 points in 28 games, were fifth round selections by the La Ronge Ice Wolves and Humboldt Broncos respectively.
Four newly drafted prospects of the Prince Albert Raiders were selected on Friday.
Canwood’s Dallyn Peekeekoot, who was a 10th round pick by the Western Hockey League champions last month after a 34-point season with the Battlefords Barons, was taken in the second round with the 13th overall pick by the Ice Wolves.
Three picks later, Raiders’ 11th round pick Liam Rodman was selected by the Notre Dame Hounds.
The Saskatoon blueliner had seven points in 31 games last season and led the provincial Bantam AA circuit in penalty minutes with 110.
Defenceman Tre Fouquette, who had 21 points for his hometown Warman Wildcats and was a fourth round pick by the Raiders in May, was picked by the Ice Wolves third round.
The final Raiders prospect to be drafted was Martinsville Marauders netminder Max Hildebrand, as the Bombers chose him in the fourth round.
The last pick by the Raiders at this year’s draft, Hildebrand had a 2.58 goals against average and .878 save percentage for his hometown Marauders prior to being picked in the 13th round of the WHL draft.
Forward Mesele Klassen of Warman, who had 46 points in 29 games for his hometown Wildcats and suited up twice for the Prince Albert Mintos last year, was taken in the second round by the Yorkton Terriers.
Klassen was selected by the Vancouver Giants in the sixth round of the WHL draft.
70 players were selected at Friday’s draft, which was held in conjunction with the SJHL’s annual general meeting.
Forward Mason Bueckert, who had 61 points in 31 games for the Saskatoon Generals and was a ninth round pick by the Saskatoon Blades, was taken first overall by the Ice Wolves.