In a historic first round the Lethbridge Hurricanes made two selections in the Top 5 to kick off the 2011 WHL Bantam Draft.
The hockey club was very proud to select defenseman Ryan Pilon with the 3rd overall pick before selecting forward Reid Duke with the 5th overall pick in the 2011 WHL Bantam Draft. The Hurricanes acquired the 3rd overall pick (Regina’s first round selection) last season as a result of the Carter Ashton trade which also saw the Canes acquire Graham Hood, 94-born Tayler Balog and a 2nd round pick in 2010 – A pick the club would use to select blue chip prospect Macoy Erkamps with the 27th overall pick in 2010.
Pilon, a 6'1" 176 pound defenceman from Warman, SK is a highly-touted prospect -- ranked by many as the most talented d-man in the draft. Last season, Pilon notched 45 points (27G,18A) in 20 games with the Warman Wildcats of the Centre Four Hockey League. Duke is a 5’10, 170 pound forward who tallied 64 points (28G, 36A) and 79 PIMs in 30 games with the Calgary Royals (AMBHL) this past season. The Hurricanes history of top five selections is a short one made up of only last year’s top pick Jay Merkley (3rd overall – 2010); Dwight King (4th overall – 2004) and Paul Elliot (4th overall – 1995). Pilon joins Merkley as the Hurricanes highest ever selections in the WHL Bantam Draft.
“With Pilon – we got the player we wanted – he’s a big strong kid with lots of offensive ability and he can play any area of the rink” said Hurricanes Assistant GM Brad Robson “ He’s a player that is all upside with lots of potential and we had him ranked number one on our list for defensemen.”
“Reid is another great player, a lot of fans in Lethbridge got the chance to see his performance at the Alberta Cup and got a glimpse as to why we are as excited as we are about this prospect” said Robson “He’s a player with tremendous offensive upside, a skilled forward with good hands he has the ability to go end to end and help your power play. With a player like him and forwards like Jay Merkley and Craig Leverton it gives you a great one two punch on your power play.”
(From Ryan Ohashi, Hurricanes Manager of Communications and Events)