It was a big day for the Delta Hockey Academy in the Western Hockey League Bantam Draft.
The Planet Ice based program saw 12 players selected over the 14-round draft conducted on Thursday in Red Deer, including five in the top 40. All played this past season on the Bantam Prep Green Team.
Heading the DHA contingent was forward Mathew Ward going 14th overall to the Swift Current Broncos.
The 5-foot-7 centre from Richmond had a big season in the Canadian School Sport Hockey League — compiling 64 points, including 30 goals in as many games.
“Mathew is a really good player. He brings a lot of skill and is a gamer. He makes the players around him better. We are super excited. He is pretty dynamic player,” said Broncos head coach Dean Brockman.
“He certainly is all business and wants to play the game the right way.”
Just four picks later, the Edmonton Oil Kings selected forward Caleb Reimer. The 6-foot-2 Surrey native had 45 points in 30 games, including 18 goals.
“Caleb is a big forward with a lot of upside and someone we’re excited is joining our group,” said Edmonton Oil Kings Director of Scouting, Jamie Porter. “Caleb possesses excellent puck skills and is a highly coveted power forward for our future.”
North Delta Minor Hockey product Niall Crocker went 22nd overall to the Prince Albert Raiders.
Crocker is not only the same size as Reimer but also put up identical numbers.
“I think he has a great combination of skill, IQ, and grit,” said Raiders Director of Player Personnel Curt Brownlee. “The other part we like about him is his character and his ability to lead.”
The Medicine Hat Tigers then used a pair of second round picks to take the Wild’s Henry Smith and Brayden Boehm at 34th and 37th overall respectively.
Smith, a Richmond native, put up big numbers on the DHA blueline with 30 points in 29 games, including 11 goals. Boehm finished with 40 points. The Nanaimo native also had 16 goals.
Other DHA players to go in the draft included: Kyle Chyzowski (58th overall, Portland), Carter MacAdams (70th overall, Prince George), Damian Palmieri (87th overall, Vancouver), Matteo Sjoberg (97th overall, Tri-City), Mateo Mrsic (141st overall, Seattle), Josh Mori (168th overall, Portland) and Markus Johansen (165th overall, Tri-City).
Palmieri was teammates with Crocker in North Delta Minor before taking their careers to DHA.