Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Saskatoon (Brandon) Wins WHL Draft Lottery

The WHL Bantam Draft lottery was held today at the WHL Office in Calgary to determine the order of the first six selections in the first round of the 2014 WHL Bantam Draft. The WHL Bantam Draft Lottery involved the six non-playoff teams (Lethbridge, Kamloops, Saskatoon, Moose Jaw, Prince George and Red Deer) from the 2013-14 season. A team could only move up a maximum of two positions in the Bantam Draft.

A Saskatoon Blades ball was drawn, meaning Saskatoon moves up two spots in the first round of the draft, and will select first overall. The Lethbridge Hurricanes will have the second selection, the Kamloops Blazers will select third, the Moose Jaw Warriors have the fourth selection, the Prince George Cougars will select fifth, and the Red Deer Rebels will have the sixth overall selection.

With six balls in the lottery, the Hurricanes had the best chance at picking first overall, but Head Scout Blake Robson is still pleased. “There’s a lot of depth at the draft this year and from what we’ve seen there’s probably 4 or 5 guys that could go first or second. It will be an interesting day and at number two we’re going to get a top end player that will step in as a 16-year old and start contributing right away.”

Hurricanes General Manager Brad Robson reiterated that point saying nothing changes. “Where we are today there’s probably three players all close together, all three are very good players. If you polled all 22 times, all of them have those top three guys so it doesn’t change anything we’re still going to get a good player.”

The order of the second round and all other rounds will be the inverse order of final 2013-14 WHL regular-season standings.

Following is the order of selection for the 1st round of the WHL Bantam Draft:

1. Saskatoon Blades
2. Lethbridge Hurricanes
3. Kamloops Blazers
4. Moose Jaw Warriors
5. Prince George Cougars
6. Red Deer Rebels
7. Tri-City Americans
8. Vancouver Giants
9. Prince Albert Raiders
10. Brandon Wheat Kings
11. Kootenay Ice
12. Swift Current Broncos
13. Regina Pats
14. Spokane Chiefs
15. Everett Silvertips
16. Seattle Thunderbirds
17. Medicine Hat Tigers
18. Victoria Royals
19. Calgary Hitmen
20. Edmonton Oil Kings
21. Portland Winterhawks
22. Kelowna Rockets

For the 2nd and all subsequent rounds of the WHL Bantam Draft (not including traded picks) the Lethbridge Hurricanes will select 1st overall.

Players eligible for the 2014 WHL Bantam Draft will be 1999-born players with the 2014 WHL Bantam Draft being held on Thursday, May 3rd in Calgary.


  1. Wheaties pick first, acquired Saskatoon's 2014 first overall pick in a deal that sent Brenden Walker to the Blades for their Mem Cup hosting team.


  2. Unfortunate, but inconsequential to the 2014-15 Hurricanes.

    Under this business model, this board, this GM, and this coach, nobody is going to buy tickets to watch this "new culture" next season or the one after.

    This GM's coach couldn't work with last year's roster that missed the playoffs by 6 MEASLEY points, so rather than adjust HIS "systems," he somehow talked the rookie GM into hosting a fire sale and proceeded to alienate, aggravate, and obliterate all but 7 exceptionally tolerant and forgiving players from last year's roster (and one coach) ... only to stink up (nearly) every rink he entered more than Pepé Le Pew.

    He closed out the season with his new and improved roster on a staggering 0-14 losing streak, yet spoke into more than one microphone saying his team was IMPROVING! 6 wins before Christmas and 6 wins after.

    Rather than man-up and take responsibility for his 47 year franchise record setting failure, he instead has the nerve to say publicly that it is the decision of the team to keep him or not.

    How can the board make this decision? Do they allow him to keep drawing an unearned salary while he runs this franchise into the ground for two more years, or do they BUY OUT HIS CONTACT with money they DON'T have, to send him packing, tail between his legs ... with two years of (underserved) salary ... IN ADVANCE! - Only one that WINS, is HIS ALREADY NHL-FATTENED BANK ACCOUNT!

    They shouldn't have to make this decision! Any self respecting former NHLer with a single strand of decency and personal integrity would RESIGN after delivering results so uncomparable to his pre-season Memorial Cup contender forecasts.

    HELLO?? This franchise is certainly NOT moving in the right direction and HOW can you possibly say with a straight face that this team is "improving" ? Throw out your new "software" and check out these metrics ... Z-E-R-O and F-O-U-R-T-E-E-N-! As far as I have seen, teams completing the regular season with this record and DEAD LAST in their league are not typically invited to compete for the Memorial Cup.

    WHAT POSSIBLE HOPE do they have of actually improving ANYTHING next year? May as well get Twister to coach the team. I hear and believe that HW-blog-poster-cc's MOM could do better. If any players actually come back for more 'culturing,' they will likely start the year with a matching 0-14 bookend, and they will still be hearing their GM and coach selling "its a process" , "right direction" , and "new culture" . - These MAY BE good names for boy band singing groups, they are not accurate assessments of 12/72 win seasons or 0-14 season ending streak hockey teams.

    Bert Al Conartysts

    1. And that is to say absolutely nothing about the fact that this franchise is crushing their players dreams of earning pro contracts because of the total and complete inability to provide an environment where learning and development is even remotely possible!!! The most unbelievable aspect in all of this is that the league (WHL) has done NOTHING to ensure the proper development of these players, what a disgrace!!!

      Chicks for free

  3. So who are the big three names? Semchuk, Mattheos, Bellerive?

    My guess is that Kamloops will trade up from 3rd to either 1st or 2nd... why?

    Semchuk is from Kamloops so the Blazers should choose him right? But wait, they also traded for Bellerive's older brother at the WHL trade deadline... so which guy will they pick? They tanked so that they could get at least one of the two... but now they pick at #3.

    Mattheos will likely be the best WHLer and NHLer out of the three... but he is from Manitoba so there is a very good chance that he will be chosen by (as of today) Manitoba's only WHL based club.

    Then there is Gildon, a 6'2 D-man from Texas who will go very early... but likely not #1 since there is always the risk of US players not signing...

  4. Nobody has totally ruled out the possibility of the Canes moving to Winnipeg yet, all Robison said in his radio interview is that Lethbridge would have a WHL presence next season, he never once said that it would be the Canes as we know them? At least thats what I heard him say? If there were two Manitoba based franchises, that could change this draft in a wide variety of ways? Likely our GM will have no other choice but to trade the second overall pick as it has to be doubtful that a single first round prospect would allow him to think they would sign here under any circumstances....


    1. Dylan P ruled out Leth to Winnipeg and Koot the Leth on Mondays show?
      You would hope new owners and coaches would be in place prior to any kid signing. I would take the best available Canadian kid who wants to play in the W. He won’t play until 2015/16 season anyway.
      Long Run

  5. Anonymous @ 15:11... there is a team in last place EVERY season, and very rarely does a 1st round player refuse to sign with the team that chose him... our GM also said that trade requests were 0 for 19 in this week's exit meetings...

    1. It is true that there is a team in last place team every year, but the ongoing mediocrity that has surrounded the Hurricanes undoubtedly troubles every agent representing bantam players, along with the player and their parents also.

      So what if the trade requests were 0 for 19 according to the GM who has lied to the media early and often (remember the Lukowich situation much). With Merkley, Pilon, Meyer, Topping, Yak, McKecknie, and probably many more who wanted out but are unconfirmed (Henry, Leverton) and Clague who if drafted to the Canes may not have reported, it is a very possible scenario that any draft pick of the Canes may not report.

      The Junior A/NCAA route looks extremely promising to a bantam player in terms of both personal, professional, and educational development compared to the Canes and their financial and hockey related future that is easily headed in a tailspin direction with the status quo.

      Hopefully the league steps in to fix this mess before it is too late.

      Lethbridge Rebel

  6. Guess we'll see...and no player would ever request a trade during an exit interview anyway as that is not the time, but there are players that are concerned for their careers and you can bet your behind in that!

  7. Top draft picks have earned that status and have options. They are coveted by many. The stigma of Lethbridge is real. Player agents will be very guarded before they send a player here. Jay Merkley was our highest pick ever and RP nearly destroyed him by playing him 4-5 minutes a night. On a losing team that was supposed to be committed to a rebuild. The team would play older players that were minus players night after night Rich would go back to them over and over again…Merkley, Watson, Laurencille, Leverton and others were were never given a chance. Other teams insert their high draft picks and live with the mistakes they make as young players because they believe in them. Most of the time it pays off. The proof….Merkley had 34g, 28a and 66 pts this year playing in SC and he is only 18. We gave up on him at 17!! We have not had a player with those kind of numbers here in Lethbridge for years! We threw these kids under the bus. No NHL teams seem interested in them as none of them were drafted and that is the reason why highly drafted kids will think twice about coming here. Maybe Duke will fair better but his numbers are no better then Merkleys at the same age. These kids have a very short window to prove themselves and even the most talented kids will not look very good playing 4-5 shifts a game. Somehow we need to erase this image and make the Lethbridge Hurricanes the place where players are developed and where players are drafted. If we do this winning will follow. This time we will get yet another high draft pick. Lets not blow it again. Draft well, focus on development of these players and believe in the rebuild….

    1. A couple guys left in Preston tenure of four seasons.
      5 and coach this year.
      I think many teams would take the 6 foot 6 euro we ditched over Merkley. Axel was EVALUATED as a third line player on our roster? Axel finished third in points on a top team in the W and would likely finished first had he been on roster the full season. And a plus 24 with Vic.
      Preston at least got much better return for Merkley compared to the Axel deal this season.
      Preston deserves his criticisms but it doesn’t even compare to the disaster this year.
      Long Run

  8. RP 40% winning 4 years, never made playoffs. Was coach and GM. He built this team and it was not getting better. Great trade Jay Merkley...3rd pick overall by RP, Developed over a year and a half to play on the 4th line. 4-5 shifts a game. Traded at 17 for a 19 year old fighter. This year Jay 34g 32a as an 18yr old, Josh 5g 11a as a 20yr old. Great trade.LOL. DB has done no better. The lack of development of the players and the team has resulted in very little interest in the hurricane players by NHL scouts...the result is defections by the players trying to salvage a pro career. Will a top pick come here again and spend a year or 2 on the forth line when he has other choices...It will take some convincing...

    1. “19 year old fighter”? Really? We also got a third from Swift. Never said “great”.
      I would much rather Preston’s 40% over Drake’s crap. But both don’t belong. Drake just set us back from what Preston left.

      Or, I might have to thank Drake for forcing the sale of the Hurricanes to private owners? Very well could have been a Great move by this organization. That definitely would be a change of culture ten years from now.
      Long Run

  9. In watching the news last night as Alison Redford announced her resignation, I was struck by some obvious commonalities and differences between Redford and the brass of the Lethbridge Hurricanes.

    1. COMMONALITY: Redford worked her way up the ranks of her political party.

    Berehowsky worked his way up the ranks through junior hockey, to the NHl and on to coaching.

    2. DIFFERENCE: Redford made promises upon getting the job that she would work with non-profits and raise AISH payments by $400.00 per month. She kept these promises.

    Berehowsky promised to "put an exciting fast paced product on the ice each and every game and bring back the winning tradition to Lethbridge.” He did not keep that promise.

    3. COMMONALITY: Redford promised to increase the post-secondary budget by 2%. Instead, the budget was cut by 7.2% so she did not keep her promise.

    When Brad Robson hired Berehowsky, he was quoted as saying, “He talked about prioritizing, he talked about accountability, credibility, work ethic, we talked a lot about special teams, young players, giving the young players opportunities to play, to grow.” Neither Robson or Berehowsky have ever held themselves accountable, with the constant lies their credibility is totally shot and unfortunately our players did not grow one little bit.

    4. COMMONALITY: When it became apparent that some of the Redford culture was not working, the citizens started vocalizing their concerns. Some of her party even quit.

    When it became apparent that some of the Berehowsky culture was not working, the fans start vocalizing their concerns. Some of the team even quit.

    5. DIFFERENCE: When Redford was called out for spending $45,000 to fly to South Africa and it was then noted that her child and the child's friend often flew with her for free Redford apologized, admitted her error and offered to pay back a portion (at first) and then after accepted responsibility for the entire $45.000 bill.

    When Berehowsky started getting called out for his losing ways, lack of so-called systems and the mass exodus from the team, he continued to blame it on the players for not buying-in. He never accepted any responsibility himself, only incensing the fans further.

    6. DIFFERENCE: Redford resigned stating "Quite simply, I am not prepared to allow party and caucus in-fighting to get in the way of building a better future for our province and for all Albertans. And that is why I am announcing today that with a profound optimism for Alberta's future I am resigning as premier of Alberta effective this Sunday evening." While many people are saying that it is about time for this resignation, people also respect her decision to do the right thing.

    Instead of doing what so many feel is the right thing and resigning, Berehowsky said at the end of the season that he hopes to be back. Robson has stated that Berehowsky WILL be back. So unlike Ranford in doing what she feels is best towards helping build a strong and optimistic future, Berehowsky is not doing the right thing nor is he garnering any respect.


  10. Pat, what is going on? Have you shut this down for the summer?

    1. Give the guy a break! Pat is in Mexico on a very well deserved holiday.

      Dump'n Chase

  11. .... (Pat's in Mehico burning his ears and pimping himself out to raise money for the Save the Canes Foundation)

    SPF 2014

  12. Pat is just like the rest of us fans. Yes, he is the Canes broadcaster, but make no mistake (while I don't personally know Pat), I know he is like the biggest Canes fan there is.

    I am sure he needs a break from everything and anything Hurricanes' related right now. Try to imagine how frustrating it must be for him. Not only is he a disappointed fan like all of us, but he has to eat, sleep and breath the Hurricanes' 24/7. I for one admire Pat for the level of professionalism he displays during what can only be described as a horrendous season.

    Enjoy your time in Mexico Pat. Before you know it, it will be hockey season again ..... Oh oh, did I just ruin your vacation!!


    More than of us d, I

  13. I wasn't insinuating that he was slacking. I didn't know he was in Mexico and with no updates or comments on here for awhile I thought he may have (understandably so) just taking a break from here for awhile. My question was more out of concern and not passing judgement. I agree it was a very hard season for him as well. I hope you enjoy your vacation.

  14. I heard an interview the other day (960fan) where Mike Williamson, the Head Coach of the Hitmen was asked about his disappointment in losing out to the Ice. He mentioned more than once about self examination and reflecting on what HE and his coaching staff could have done better.... Imagine that?!

    His team finished the season 48W 17L, in third place in the conference, then lost to the 6th seeded Ice, and understands that while the Ice is a good team, his Hitmen should not have lost to them, and along with his players, he pointed a finger at HIMSELF also.

    Our coach sets a franchise record for fewest wins in forty some years, and NOT ONCE during the ENTIRE SEASON of his interviews did I EVER hear him admit that HE had to do a better job..... EVER. The WORST record in the HISTORY of the franchise, and he takes absolutely NO BLAME or responsibility.

    I didn't get to read his "Letter" in the Herald, maybe that is where he fessed up?? (IF anyone can post a link or copy/paste, I would really love to read what he wrote)

    Tumuch Caffeen

  15. Seems like all the rumor mills have come to a grinding halt. Guess a lot of us were hoping that something of a positive event was going to happen like a change in ownership; Canes being relocated with another existing franchise heading to town; or at least a change with the structure with those overseeing the operation (disaster) of this franchise.
    We all know that Fred Jack made a proclamation that there would be a major announcement about this franchise by May 1st. Trouble is, regardless of his "sources", the 2-3 running the Cane's franchise may have been able to dodge the bullets that would end their reign and thus continue to control things as they want and may have pulled the "rabbit out of the hat" again. Which might lead Fred to have to admit that the "arrangements that could have led to the announcement" have fallen through.

    I hope that I am wrong and Fred is right.

    Dump'n Chase

  16. Reading this causes me great concern.
    My 14 year-old son - all 6'4" of him - will be drafted next week and what is described above is the last environment we want for him - it sounds too much like the situation he is graduated from.

    He is an A student and a good kid. Thank goodness for Junior A, the NCAA, and midget elite.

  17. A situation in which bad management is allowed to survive actually serves to strengthen the bargaining position of other franchises in the league. Maybe this is why the WHL will do nothing here ?

    Imagine being a young kid who signed with Kamloops or Portland and stepping out of line there - how long before the coach suggests that, ' next time you can pack your bags for Lethbridge ... '

    Talk about a terrifying thought.

  18. No Changes Planned - Robson