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Saskatoon Contacts teammates share WHL Bantam Draft spotlight

Saskatoon Contacts forward Brayden Yager looks to make a pass during a playoff game against the Moose Jaw AAA Warriors . Brenden Purdy / Global News

Being drafted into the Western Hockey League is a special moment for a young hockey player. Sharing that moment with a close friend and teammate makes it that much more special.

Saskatoon Contacts forwards Riley Heidt and Brayden Yager know the feeling well after being selected back-to-back early in the opening round of the 2020 WHL Bantam Draft.

Heidt was taken second overall by the Prince George Cougars. The Moose Jaw Warriors then selected Yager with the very next pick.

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“It’s pretty special. We’ve been playing together for quite a while now — three, four years including spring hockey — and we’ve developed a chemistry that’s pretty strong and a friendship that’s really strong too and I think that we’re both pretty excited for each other,” Yager said.

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The duo combined for 79 points in 44 games with the Contacts this past season while competing against players up to three years older.

“It’s been awesome playing with [Brayden] and I wish the best for him and to see him to go Moose Jaw, it’s awesome,” Heidt said.

Heidt and Yager headline a group of seven players from Saskatchewan drafted in the opening round this year, the most first-round picks from the province since 2003, when eight players were selected.

“It’s a physical brand of hockey out here and I think getting used to that type of physical play is important moving up levels and I think we’ve known that Saskatchewan was a pretty strong group ever since the Brick [novice invitational] tournament back in 2015 when we lost [the final] to Toronto,” Yager said.

“I think Saskatchewan’s a really good hockey province.”

Both players are expected to suit up for the Contacts again next season before having a chance to earn full-time roster spots with their respective WHL clubs going into the 2021-22 campaign.

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