The annual WHL bantam draft was held today in Calgary and a number of Brandon and Westman products were lucky enough to hear their names called. Goaltender, Trent Miner, was the first Brandon player selected as he went 20th overall to the Vancouver Giants. Miner is described as a technically sound goalie with size. The 6-0, 171-pound goaltender spent this past season with the Brandon Bantam AAA Bantam Wheat Kings compiling a win/loss record of 23 and 3 while sporting an impressive GAA average of 1.52. He also has the distinction of being the first Manitoban selected in this year’s draft.
Another local product, Tristen Robins (photo:Bantam AAA Wheat Kings) was selected in the 4th round, 76th overall by the Regina Pats. Tristen is the son of one-time Wheat King goaltender Trevor Robins and spent this past season as a teammate of Trent Miners on the Brandon Bantam AAA Wheat Kings. The speedy forward fished the regular season with 91 points in 35 games.
Forward Dylan Halliday was chosen by his home town Brandon Wheat Kings with the 263rd pick in the 12th round. Dylan scored 89 points in 34 regular season games in the Winnipeg AAA Hockey League.
Other Manitobans of note who were drafted on this day include Vista’s Cole Muir who went 33rd to Regina, Eric Fawkes who went 40th overall to Seattle, and Jordan Chudley of Souris who the Kootenay Ice selected 78th overall.
The Brandon Wheat Kings started their day by moving up in the draft and acquiring the 11th overall pick from the Moose Jaw Warriors in exchange for the Wheat Kings 1st, 3rd, and 6th round picks. With the pick they selected Braden Schneider a 5’11”, 170 defensemen from Prince Albert. Originally the Wheat Kings were not scheduled to select until the 20th pick but moved up 11 spots by making the deal. With their pick in the 4th round, the Wheat Kings took Winnipeg’s Kyle Bettens who is the brother of Wheat King prospect Rylan Bettens. Forward Ben McCartney of MacDonald, MB was chosen with the Wheat Kings 43rd overall pick in the 2016 draft.
Players not selected in today's bantam draft need to remember that many players have gone on to very successful careers after not being drafted themselves. Jarome Iginla, Adam Deadmarsh and Steve Konowalchuk are all examples of players who were never selected in the bantam draft and ended up playing in the NHL. Michael Ferland and Matt Calvert are two local Brandon products who have proved the scouts wrong and are currently plying their trade in the NHL. Current WHL player of the year, Dryden Hunt, was not selected in his bantam draft year and he too just concluded a very successful campaign with the Moose Jaw Warriors which lead to him signing an NHL level contract with the NHL's Florida Panthers.