The Lethbridge Hurricanes have a new crop of 2005-born prospects following the 2020 WHL Bantam Draft.
Draft day opened anticlimactically on Wednesday morning, as the Regina Pats selected Connor Bedard with the first overall pick. The Pats had already signed the forward to a WHL standard player agreement on Tuesday.
The 14-year-old was the first player ever to be granted exceptional player status in the WHL, meaning he can play a full season in the league at just 15. Bedard’s birthday falls in July.
Lethbridge Hurricanes general manager Peter Anholt had to wait 15 picks between Bedard and the 16th overall selection that his club held in the first round. With the pick, the team took centreman Cole Miller.
The Edmonton product said he was hoping to see his name in one of the first two rounds, but was thrilled when Lethbridge selected him at 16.
“It was like a dream come true when I saw my name pop up and it was from Lethbridge,” said Miller.
“It was just crazy. It was a dream come true, and a goal accomplished that I set for myself this season.”
Miller captained the Edmonton KC Squires Bantam AAA team in 2019-2020, recording 26 points in 28 games and adding a goal and an assist in the three midget AAA games he played in.
“I like to describe myself as a power forward,” he said. “I like using my size and my speed to create chances for myself and opportunities for my teammates.”
Anholt said that while the move might have surprised a couple of teams, his scouting staff was high on the centreman and the Hurricanes were thrilled to get Miller where they did.
“He’s got good skill for a big man, so we were really, really happy to get him,” said Anholt. “I think it’s maybe a little bit off the board, to a certain extent possibly, but for us, he’s got a pro body and really good pro potential.”
The general manager said Miller’s reputation as a leader was also something the organization found very valuable on the long list of boxes that the 15-year-old checks off.
“The compete, the hockey sense, how he can skate, how he can make a play — I think all those things start to come into play,” Anholt said. “But being a leader is one of them, and being a real good team guy.”
Miller said he’s happy he will be staying in his home province, with lots of future meetings against divisional rivals — including the Edmonton Oil Kings and Red Deer Rebels — for his parents to go watch live.
Following the first-round selection, the Canes took nine more players on Wednesday.
In the second round, Anholt said his staff capitalized on what was a particularly strong group of defencemen coming out of Saskatchewan.
The 38th overall pick was used to select left-shot defenceman Noah Chadwick, a product of the Saskatoon Stallions bantam AA team.
“He’s got size, but he can also run a power play,” said Anholt. “We look at him to be one of those types of defencemen that can quarterback a power play.”
In a news release, Hurricanes head scout Rob MacLachlan said “Chadwick is a good puck-moving defenceman who had missed a few games due to injury, but he’s phenomenal on the power play.”
In total, the Hurricanes picked 10 players in Monday’s draft:
- #16 (1st rd) Cole Miller (C), Edmonton AB – Edmonton KC Squires BAAA
- #38 (2nd rd) Noah Chadwick (LD), Saskatoon, SK – Saskatoon Stallions BAA
- #45 (3rd rd) Logan Wormald (LW), Langley, BC – Yale H.A. Bantam Prep
- #104 (5th rd) Dustin Renas (C), Saskatoon, SK – Saskatoon Maniacs BAA
- #123 (6th rd) Brady Smith (G), Cloverdale, BC – Yale H.A. Bantam Prep
- #148 (7th rd) Aiden Ziprick (LD), Russell, MB – Parkland Rangers B1AAA
- #170 (8th rd) Zach Bansley (RW), Tisdale, SK – North East Wolfpack BAA
- #192 (9th rd) Kaden Phillips (LD), Sundre, AB – Olds Grizzlys BAA
- #214 (10th rd) Adam Beamin (RD), Saskatoon, SK – Saskatoon Stallions BAA
- #236 (11th rd) Rylan Williams (F), Kyle, SK – Swift Current Broncos BAA