Western Hockey league expects to push back the date of the annual bantam draft

WHL to hold late draft

It would appear as if the Western Hockey League won't hold its bantam draft at the usual time.

The draft of 15-year-old prospects is typically held in May of each year, however, different protocols around COVID-19 in various provinces and states has meant some leagues have been able to play while others have not.

In order to give players an opportunity to show off their abilities, Kelowna Rockets GM Bruce Hamilton says the league is looking at a draft sometime later in the year.

Hamilton and the rest of the league GM's held a conference call Tuesday to discuss the draft.

He says the concept of a later draft will now be forwarded to the governors for final approval.

And, while teams all began the shortened season with a 24-game schedule, positive COVID tests in the BC, Central and US divisions have forced some teams to play fewer games than the rest of the league.

In the BC Division, the Rockets, who missed 17 days, will only play 16 games while the other four will play 22.

That means the order of the draft will be determined by winning percentage, and not total points.

A decision on a format for the import draft is expected to be released soon.

The import draft, which takes place in the summer, involves all three major junior league.

However, all three have had vastly different schedules. The QMJHL has been playing for several months and expect to complete a playoff schedule, while the OHL has not played at all.

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