The Western Hockey League held its annual Bantam Draft today, and the Winterhawks made 13 selections in the Draft.
“We’re excited about the results of today’s Bantam Draft,” said Portland Winterhawks Vice President, General Manager, and Head Coach Mike Johnston. “Our entire scouting staff worked tirelessly all year to evaluate the skillsets and character of these players. We’re pleased with the group of players we’ve selected and are looking forward seeing them at training camp in August.”
The team’s first pick came in the opening round, when they selected skilled center Seth Jarvis from Winnipeg, Manitoba at 11th overall. Jarvis played last season with the Rink Hockey Academy of the Canadian Sports Schools Hockey League, where he was fifth in the entire league with 66 points, including 42 goals, in 30 games played.
The Hawks’ next selection came in the third round, when they selected Defenseman Ryan Helliwell from Vancouver, British Columbia at 55th overall. Helliwell played last season for the Burnaby Winter Club Bantams, recording 23 goals and 51 assists for 74 points in 66 games. In the fourth round, the Winterhawks picked their first player from the United States when they selected forward Cross Hanas from Dallas, Texas at 77th overall.
Portland went back to the province of Manitoba for their fifth and sixth round picks, first selecting goaltender Dante Giannuzzi of Winnipeg. Giannuzzi earned a 12-4 record, with a 2.37 GAA, 90.9% save percentage, and three shutouts playing for the Rink Hockey Academy in the Canadian Sports Schools Hockey League. The Hawks then selected center Tyson Kozak from Souris, Manitoba in the sixth round, making him the third Manitoban selected by the Hawks. Kozak recorded 57 points in 36 games this season for the Southwest Cougars Bantam AAA.
As the Draft continued, the Hawks selected forward Robbie Fromm-Delorme from Richmond, BC at 135th overall with their first of two picks in the seventh round. The Hawks followed that pick with fellow seventh round selection forward Aidan Thompson of Fort Collins, Colorado, who became the second American chosen by the Hawks in the Draft.
In the eighth round, the Hawks selected defenseman Ethan Edwards of St. Albert, Alberta. The Winterhawks then acquired a ninth round selection from the Lethbridge Hurricanes, and a tenth round pick from the Spokane Chiefs in a pair of trades. Defenseman Trey Taylor from Vancouver, BC, was selected with the first of those picks in round nine, while Ethen Leyer was the tenth round selection from St. Albert, Alberta.
The Hawks selected a trio of American prospects to conclude their draft. First, in the tenth round at 209th overall, the Hawks selected forward Tyler Kleven from Fargo, North Dakota. Chase Yoder of Fairview, Texas was the Hawks’ 11th round selection at 231st overall coming off a season with the Dallas Stars Elite 16U. Finally the Hawks selected forward Jackson Nieuwendyk from Dallas in the twelfth round, the son of Hockey Hall-of-Famer Joe Nieuwendyk.