The extra wait was well worth it for a group of talented 15-year-olds from the Delta Hockey Academy.
The Western Hockey League held its 2021 Prospects Draft Thursday after delaying the typical May event due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Planet Ice-based program dominated the proceedings with four players chosen among the first 11 picks.
Surrey’s Jordan Gavin went second overall to the Tri-City Americans. The high-scoring centre has 58 points and 24 goals in 14 games so far this season with DHA’s U17 Prep team. He signed with the club on Friday.
"Playing in the Western Hockey League is something I’ve always wanted to do since I was a kid,” said Gavin. “I think it’s a dream of a lot of kids from Western Canada and it’s all coming true right now. I can’t wait to play for the Americans.”
Teammate Tomas Mrsic, also from Surrey, was selected eighth overall by the Medicine Hat Tigers. He also sits with 58 points.
The league’s top scorer is DHA’s Miguel Marques. The Prince George native, who has 64 points and 27 goals, went 10th overall to the Lethbridge Hurricanes.
"The top 10 picks in this draft were full of really talented and exciting players, but there was no scenario that we thought we get Marques at 10th overall and we are very, very happy to have the opportunity to select him,” said Hurricanes General Manger Peter Anholt.
Selected right behind Marques was blueliner and Maple Ridge native Colton Roberts by the hometown Vancouver Giants. The 6-foot-4 180-pounder has 26 points in 17 games.
“He’s made tremendous strides this year. He’s a big, strong leader on the ice. He’s got a ton of assists, and can activate a power play,” said Vancouver Giants general manager Barclay Parneta. “He fits our team’s identity really well, plus he’s a local kid. We’re really excited to welcome Colton Roberts and his family to our organization.”
Florida native and now Tsawwassen resident Gavin Garland went 31st overall to the Americans. Medicine Hat used the 54th overall pick to select towering Fort St. John native Cayden Lindstrom. The 6-foot-5 and 190-pounder is fourth in scoring with DHA’s U17 Prep team with 34 points and 16 goals.
The Giants used the 99th overall pick to select DHA blueliner and Surrey native Linden Burrett. Five picks later, Jaren Ashbee, another Surrey blueliner, went to the Calgary Hitmen. Langley d-man Michael Gallant was taken with the 106th pick by the Saskatoon Blades.
The flurry of DHA defencemen continued with North Delta’s Derek Thurston going in the sixth round to Red Deer and Richmond’s Kabir Shahi in the seventh round to Calgary.
Rounding out the DHA picks was Victoria goaltender Noah Stenvig going in the eighth round to Winnipeg.
The U17 Prep team is back in action next Saturday (Dec. 18) with a road game against St. Georges at UBC’s Father Bauer Arena.