Hometown selection: Raiders select Connor Howe in second round of WHL Prospects Draft

Connor Howe (#17, white jersey) battles for a puck during U15 AA action at the Kinsmen Arena in Prince Albert earlier this season (Photo from Prince Albert Pirates Facebook Page.)

For Connor Howe, the feeling was pure elation when he heard his name called in the 2024 WHL Prospects Draft on Thursday.

The Prince Albert product was selected in the second round, 31st overall by his hometown team, the Prince Albert Raiders.

“I was definitely surprised.” Howe says. “I was just excited. Growing up, watching them play, I always wanted to play for the Raiders. Getting drafted by them and getting an opportunity for them, it’s unreal.”

Howe posted 43 points in 16 games this season for the Prince Albert Pirates in the Saskatchewan U15 AA ranks. The year wasn’t without adversity for Howe as he did miss some time after he suffered a broken jaw in a game against Martensville.

Howe says he was thrilled with the fact he was taken by the Raiders.

“I’m really happy. I thought that injury might have pushed me down a little bit, but I’m still very happy with where I went.”

Howe is not the first member of his family to be selected into the WHL. His older brother, Tanner is currently the captain of the Regina Pats. Tanner was selected by the Pats in the fourth round, 73rd overall by Regina and posted 77 points in 68 games last season.

Tanner is a top prospect for the 2024 NHL Draft and is ranked 41st amongst North American Skaters by NHL Central Scouting and 25th by TSN’s Bob McKenzie.

Connor says having Tanner as an older brother has helped him become who he is as a hockey player and person today.

“It’s really good. He’s helped me become a better player and person as well. He’s pushing me whether it’s on the ice or just working and being able to do (that) with him has helped me become a better player and person every single day.”

Howe is committed to play with the Prince Albert Mintos in the U18 AAA ranks next season and appeared in four games as an affiliate player last season.

Howe says he is looking forward to contributing with the Mintos next season and is hoping to make the jump to the WHL when he is eligible as a full-time player in 2025-26.

“Hopefully I should have a good year next year so I can hopefully make the WHL as a 16-year-old and try and do as much as I can there.”

When asked about Howe after the draft, Raider general manager Curtis Hunt says the PA product will be a great fit with the Raiders.

“I saw him at Sask First and he’s a real line driver. He stirs the drink and he makes things happen. Highly competitive and tenacious and great work ethic. (He’s) a heart of a lion kind of player.”