The Western Canada AAA Hockey Championships are set to being next week in Stony Plain, AB. The host Spruce Grove PAC Saints will be joined by provincial winners; BWC (BC), SSAC (AB), Pembina Valley (MB) and the winner of Friday's game between Balgonie and the North East Wolfpack from Saskatchewan.
This year's championships feature many of the top prospects in western Canada, many of whom will be top two round selections in this year's bantam draft. Here are the players who we feel could be top 2 rounders and who are participating at this year's event.
Matt Barzal, Ty Ronning, Adam Musil, Ty Schultz and Nick McBride all have a chance to be top 2 round selections for the bantam draft on May 3. Matt Barzal will be making his 3rd appearance at westerns. He was a 12 yr old Peewee call-up back in 2010 when BWC hosted. Scouts and others will also get a chance to watch 98 born D- Dante Fabbro who will be a first round in next year's bantam draft.
Giorgio Estephan is a consensus top 10 selections for the bantam draft. We will also get a sneak peak at western Canada's best 98 born talent in F- Tyler Benson, who many feel would be a top 10 selection this year if he were available! Another is D- David Quenneville who will be a first rounder by the looks of things, he won the AMBHL North defenceman of the year.
Pembina Valley (MB)
Colt Conrad should garner serious first round consideration on draft day. He is perhaps the most dynatmic and offensive forward from the province of Manitoba this year. Pembina Valley have several other players who should get a look but perhaps not in the top couple rounds. Maybe a strong westerns against some top teams can change that.
Jayden Halbgewachs has been the top forward in Saskatchewan all long by evidence of his SBAAHL leading 55 goals and his winning of MVP at both major Saskatchewan bantam tournaments in Prince Albert and Regina. Jayden should be taken somewhere in the first round depending on team need etc. Brennan Riddle is another garnering some series attention in the second round of the draft. Nolan Reid is a 98 born defenceman who people will notice.
North East (SK)
Nobody currently ranked by us in the top 2 rounds but some like the play of Tristan Elder or Caleb Seaman. However, the play has been a bit sub-par so far in the playoffs. Again a strong Sask First and/or westerns could vault either of these players in to that area of the draft.
Spruce Grove (Host)
They have some talent with Conner Lukan, Nathan Bizeau and Justin Jacobson but again none are ranked up in that range as of yet!
So with this year's Western Canada Bantam AAA Championships set to go, here is a look at some history surrounding the tournament, with various records and other statistics of note.
Draft Picks (31)
Calgary Bisons (AB), BWC (Host), NSWC (BC), Saskatoon (SK), Winnipeg Monarchs (MB)
Winnipeg Monarchs (7)
Madison Bowey 23, Paul Stoykewych 38, Michael Lorange 50, Kurt Keats 95, Jonathan Martin 135, Taeron Lewis 151, Nick Zajac 174
Burnaby Winter Club (3)
Anthony Ast 19, Joe Cavalho 73, Bo Pellah 126
North Shore Winter Club (6)
Nicolas Petan 16, Jackson Houck 57, Trevor Lima 123, Braden Krogfross 140, Daniel Urbani 233, Dexter Dancs 255
Saskatoon Frostbite (5)
Colby Harmsworth 54, Brett Lewchuk 105, Conner Kortko 130, Dawven Berggren 188, Elliott Peterson 242
Calgary Bisons (10)
Jonathan Merkley 3, Morgan Klimchuk 5, Spencer Morse 43, Coleman Vollrath 55, Brodie Clowes 90, Kyle Krabben 125, John Edwardh 136, Austin Seaman 148, Braeden Salverda 220, Andrew Weich 235
Draft Picks (25)
Winnipeg Sharks (Host), Winnipeg Hawks (MB), BWC (BC), SSAC (AB), Prince Albert (SK)
Winnipeg Sharks (3)
Reid Zalitach 38, Ryley Lindgren 96, Ryan Pruden 286
Winnipeg Hawks (4)
Adam Brooks 25, Dane Schioler 36, Dallas Starodub 77, Maverick Rafter 227,
Burnaby Winter Club (3)
Lucas Mercer 133, Victor Dombrovskiy 156, Brandon Delgrosso 191,
Aaron Irving 9, Jordan Papirny 22, Zach Patterson 34, Bryar Ortynski 44, John Quenneville 54, Erik Donald 117, Zachary Riauka 122, Riley Simpson 123, Ben Sowa 132, Jake Debrusk 137
Prince Albert (5)
Jordan Harris 10, Miles Warkentine 16, Bryton Sayers 48, Ryan Duret 111, Lance Yaremchuk 116
Scoring Leaders Since 2007
1. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins BWC 10-4-14 - 2008
2. Adam Brooks WPG HAWKS 9-5-14 -2011
3. Matt Barzal BWC 7-7-14 - 2011
4. TJ Foster Spruce Grove 8-5-13 - 2007
5. Michael St. Croix Winnipeg Monarchs 6-6-12 - 2007
6. Ty Rattie Airdrie 7-5-12 - 2008
7. Charles Inglis Winnipeg Sharks 6-6-12 - 2007
8. Mike Winther Airdrie 5-6-11 - 2009
9. Mitch Holmberg - Sherwood Park 8-3-11 - 2008
10.Jason Swyripa - Airdrie 4-7-11 - 2008
Participating Teams Since 2004
BWC 12, 11, 10, 08, 07
NSWC 10, 05
Kelowna 06, 04
Abbotsford 06, 09
SSAC 12, 11, 05
Airdrie 09, 08
Calgary Bisons 10
Spruce Grove 07
Fort Sask. 04
Prince albert '11
Saskatoon Frostbite '10
Warman '08, 09
Moose Jaw '05
Winnipeg Monarchs '10, 09, 08, 07, 04
Winnipeg Sharks '11, 07, 06
Winnipeg Hawks '11, 05
Pembina Valley '12 (first time a non Winnipeg team has represented Manitoba since 1994 when the Russell Rams made it)
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