With the 2011 WHL Bantam Draft in the books, I had a chance to call up the Hurricanes two, first-round picks and get their take on being drafted by the organization.
I spoke with both Ryan Pilon (3rd overall) and Reid Duke (5th overall) and both players are very excited about their futures with the Lethbridge Hurricanes.
Pilon: "I'm really excited and honoured to be part of the Lethbridge Hurricanes. I always want to keep improving my game and play as much as I can to my potential. I like to think of myself as an all-around defenceman. Get the first pass of my zone, but I can also step up in the offensive zone when I need to. This draft was so deep. The first two guys that went ahead of me are just amazing players and I'm really honoured to have been chosen third. I'm just kind of overwhelmed to be honest as to how this has all gone."
Duke: "Well, this is pretty unbelievable! I'm kind of speechless, but this is an incredible feeling. I'm really lucky to have been drafted by the Lethbridge Hurricanes. I'm a skilled forward and I love to win. I'm very competitive and I love the game of hockey. I'm a pretty talented player who will compete hard every shift. I know being a high draft pick brings high expectations, but I'm not going to worry about that. I've been expected to do good things. You play 15% better or worse under pressure, but I hope I'll perform a lot better than I have been playing once I get a chance to play in Lethbridge."
Hurricanes Assistant General Manager and Director of Player Personnerl Brad Robson told me near the end of Thursday's draft that the organization was very excited about the selections that were made at the draft table. "We're extremely happy with the way things went. We've got a lot of size, skill, and speed from this draft. We did talk to probably over a dozen teams about picks and about us moving picks and other teams coming to us for some of our selections in the second round, but we stayed the course. We're very happy with all of our picks. To get a player like Tyler Wong for instance, with his skill level and skating ability in the 5th round is very exciting for us."
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