WHL mines local talent
It's been quite a day for the bantam hockey program at Okanagan Hockey Academy in Penticton.
During the first round of Thursday's WHL Bantam Draft, an unprecedented five players from OHA were taken.
OHA bantam coach Mike Needham expects more to be taken through the rest of the day.
The group of five drafted in round one include:
- 7th Michael Rasmussen - Centre (Tri-City)
- 11th Griffin Mendel - Defence (Kootenay)
- 13th Jordan Hollett - Goaltender (Regina)
- 18th Scott Wolford - Defence (Victoria)
- 21st Jonathan Smart - Defence (Kelowna)
"We are very excited. "I've been coaching bantam hockey for seven years now and I don't think I've ever seen that number going from one program," said Needham following the first round.
"It's great for the kids, they've put in the work this year and we've had a successful season. But it comes down to the individuals and they did a hell of a job this year."
This is only the third year OHA has offered a bantam program.
Despite that Needham says it's not a small program anymore.
"We're establishing ourselves as a pretty good place to develop young kids and I think hopefully the future is going to be even brighter.
For me it's just the start of the path for these kids. Getting drafted is great but the way I measure success here is where they go to next year. Are they playing at the highest level possible."
Neddham says he was surprised Griffin Mendel was taken as high as he was (11th overall) considering he missed five months of the season with a broken leg.
"Had he been healthy he might have been the first overall pick, he's that good."
All five players are expected to return to play first year midget with OHA next season.
They are only eligible to play six games in the Western Hockey League next season while their midget team is still playing.
Comments on this story are pre-moderated and approval times may vary. Before they appear, comments are reviewed by moderators to ensure they meet our submission guidelines. Keep it clean, keep it civil, keep it truthful, stay on topic and be responsible. Comments are open and welcome for three days after the story is published. We reserve the right to close comments before then. Comments that appear on the site are not the opinion of Castanet, but only of the comment writer.
Read more Sports News
- Man sentenced for targeting kidsKelowna - 3:00 pm
- Student stabbed to deathCanada - 2:02 pm
- Scams plague OkanaganVernon / N. Okanagan - 2:14 pm
- Scam man has 44 convictionsKelowna - 11:51 am
- Kelowna Rockets
- West Kelowna Warriors
- Penticton Vees
- Vernon Vipers
- Kelowna Chiefs
- Penticton Lakers
- Okanagan College Coyotes
- Kelowna Minor Hockey
- Westside Minor Hockey
- Penticton Minor Hockey
- Vernon Minor Hockey
- Winfield Minor Hockey
- Pepsi Premier Hockey League
- Kelowna Ball Hockey
- Okanagan Ball Hockey
- Penticton Ball Hockey
- Sunplex Ball Hockey
- Field Hockey Okanagan
- Okanagan Rockets
- Lake Country Old-Timers Hockey Association
- Orchard City Hockey League
- Kelowna Heat Spring Hockey
- Okanagan All Stars Hockey Club
- Knights of West Kelowna
- BCHL | KIJHL | WHL | NHL
- Kelowna Women's Soccer
- Kelowna Men's Soccer
- Okanagan Challenge
- Kelowna United FC
- Central Okanagan Youth
- Kelowna Youth Soccer
- Westside Youth Soccer
- Rutland Youth Soccer
- Lake Country Youth Soccer
- Penticton Soccer Club
- South Okanagan Similkameen Youth Soccer
- Thompson Okanagan Football Club
- Sunplex Futsal League
- Pepsi Premier Soccer League
- CSA | FIFA | MLS
- Kelowna AquaJets
- Liquid Lightning Swim Club
- Ogopogo Summer Swim Club
- Okanagan Masters Swim Club
- Kelowna Masters Swim Club
- Kelowna Badminton Club
- The Penticton Yacht & Tennis
- OK Mission Tennis
- Lakeview Heights Tennis
- Vernon Tennis Association
- Squash BC Okanagan League
- ESPN Tennis
Does your local team have a website?
Email us to add your community sports link.
Cover your team's games! Write up a story and email us [email protected] for publication here.