Tanchuk thrilled to be taken by Thunderbirds

Daily Herald File Photo Prince Albert Venice House Pirates captain Cole Tanchuk controls the puck during a game at the Kinsmen Arena last season.

Thursday was just another day at school in Shellbrook for Cole Tanchuk.

Well, except for the fact that he was able to keep a close eye on the WHL Bantam Draft while in class.

“I got up knowing it was draft day and I was able to watch it for a little bit in the morning,” Tanchuk said.

“I didn’t keep an eye on it as much but one of my teachers put the stream up on the smart board and I was able to see when I got picked.”

Tanchuk was the lone player from the Prince Albert Venice House Pirates to be selected on Thursday, as the Seattle Thunderbirds chose the blueliner in the fifth round with the 92nd overall pick.

“To see my name next to them was definitely exciting,” Tanchuk said.

“They gave me a call after the draft was done and I made sure to thank them right away. We talked about the spring camp that’s coming up for them and I’m looking forward to heading down there to meet everyone with the team.”

Tanchuk, who stands 5’10” and weighs 160 pounds, has spent the last two seasons with the Pirates.

After scoring three goals and dishing out 18 helpers in his rookie campaign, he found the back of the net nine times and had 25 assists in 30 games this season.

“It was a lot of fun to be a part of the team and it was a real honour to wear the ‘C’ as team captain last year,” Tanchuk said. “The coaching staff was great and I was able to improve my skating and my heads-up play a lot over the last two years.”

“Cole came to us with a lot of natural ability as a defender,” Pirates head coach Shawn Phaneuf added. “The biggest thing about his progression work ethic. Everything he does on the ice is with the purpose of getting better and he’s able to translate what we tell him as a coach and implement it during games.”

Tanchuk, who also suited up once for the Prince Albert Mintos this year, will be making the full-time jump to the Saskatchewan Midget AAA Hockey League next season as a member of the Tisdale Trojans.

“I’m looking forward to joining them, especially after they finished third at the Telus Cup,” Tanchuk said. “The biggest thing I’ll be working on this summer is my shot and making sure that it’s harder for the next level, in addition to getting faster out there.”

Two other players that suited up as affiliated players with the Mintos this past season were also drafted Thursday.

Warman Wildcats defender Tre Fouquette was a fourth round pick by the Prince Albert Raiders and Wildcats forward Mesele Klassen was taken in the sixth round by the Vancouver Giants.

Saskatoon Generals blueliner Kevin Korchinski was the first of 30 players from Saskatchewan that were taken at the draft as the Thunderbirds selected him with the 10th overall pick.

The first netminder that was picked by a team was also from Saskatchewan as the Kamloops Blazers selected Dylan Ernst from the Weyburn Wings in the second round.

The Medicine Hat Tigers also made a notable pick in the first round as they selected forward Oasiz Wiesblatt, the younger brother of Raiders forward Ozzy, with the 12th overall selection.