*Photo courtesy of Turning Point Sports Management.
Heading into the 2013 WHL Bantam Draft, Prince George Cougars General Manager Dallas Thompson and his scouting staff were looking to add some skill and size to the Prince George Cougars. Mission accomplished.
The Prince George Cougars kicked off their 2013 draft with the third overall pick, and used it to select defenceman Josh Anderson of Duncan, B.C. Anderson (6’1”, 202 pounds) recorded 18 goals, 52 points and 80 penalty minutes in 52 games last season with the Cowichan Valley Tier 1 Capitals.
“It feels really good to be picked third overall,” said Josh Anderson moments after the announcement was made. “Getting picked by Prince George is a great feeling. It’s not a far distance for my parents to travel to come and watch me.”
“Josh brings an element of size, strength and toughness and a great skating ability to our club,” said Prince George Cougars Western Area scout Ron Gunville. “We think he brings a little bit of everything that we needed in our organization.”
With their second round pick the Cougars drafted forward Kody McDonald out of Lethbridge, AB. McDonald scored 30 goals and 88 points along with 101 penalty minutes with the Pursuit of Excellence T1 team in Kelowna. He chipped in with one goal and eight points in four playoff game and also suited up for five games in the Alberta Cup where he scored two goals and six points along with eight penalty minutes.
“It feels awesome. I was looking forward to this my whole life,” said Kody McDonald after his selection. “It’s been a great experience today, and I’m really excited.”
“He’s a big, strong right winger with a big shot,” said Prince George Cougars Western Area scout Ron Gunville. “Kody plays with an edge, and is your prototypical power forward.”
Kolby Johnson (Kerrobert, SK) was then picked in the third round pick (52nd overall).
Johnson (6’1”, 180 pounds) scored 20 goals, 44 points and 64 penalty minutes in 27 games with the West Central Wheat Kings last season. He also recorded three points in three playoff games.
“We have added another big, strong power forward to our organization,” said Prince George Cougars Pacific Area Scout, Bob Simmonds. “He’s a physically intimidating player who is very tough to play against.”
The Cougars returned to the draft podium at the end of the fifth round, and used the 109th overall pick to take forward Lane Zablocki (Wetaskiwin, AB).
Zablocki (5’10”, 150 pounds) registered 21 goals, 45 points and 32 penalty minutes in 33 games with Leduc (AMBHL). He added three assists in three playoff games and also tallied a goal and three points in five games with Team Central at the Alberta Cup.
“Lane is a very fast, skilled offensive forward who has steadily improved and grown as a player this past season,” said Prince George Cougars BCMML scout Todd Harkins. “With his late birthday he’s almost a year younger than most kids drafted so far.”
Mid-way through the draft, the Prince George Cougars announced that they had made a trade with the Tri-City Americans. The Prince George Cougars acquired 1996-born forward Tyler Mrkonjic in exchange for a fourth round pick in the 2015 WHL Bantam Draft.
Last season Mrkonjic (6’2”, 170 pounds) recorded 10 goals and 18 points in 30 games with the St. Albert Raiders (Midget AAA). He also played eight games with the Spruce Grove Saints in the Alberta Junior Hockey League where he scored two goals and one assist. He was originally a fourth round pick (82nd overall) of the Tri-City Americans in the 2011 WHL Bantam Draft.
After lunch, the Prince George Cougars had back-to-back selections in the sixth round. They used the 117th overall pick to take defenceman Curran Reeve out of Saskatoon, SK.
Reeve is 5’9”, 165 pounds and spent last season with the Saskatoon Outlaws (SCWB). In 24 games, Reeve scored 13 goals, 25 assists and added 64 penalty minutes.
“Curran is a skilled right handed defenceman who could potentially quarterback our power play down the road,” said Prince George Cougars Western Area scout Ron Gunville. “He’s got a good shot, and is an excellent skater with great family blood lines.”
With the very next pick, the Cougars went south to Los Angeles to draft forward Dylan Strahan.
The Prince George Cougars have selected forward Dylan Strahan (Hermosa Beach, CA) in the sixth round (118th overall) of the 2013 WHL Bantam Draft.
Strahan played last season with the Los Angeles Jr. Kings and scored 34 goals and 112 points in 55 games.
“Dylan is a great young man with really good hands and skills,” said Scott Norton of Norton Sports Management. “He’s a lanky center who could develop into a top line player in the WHL as he fills out.”
With their eighth round pick the Cougars took another forward. Winnipeg’s Josh Curtis was taken 156th overall.
Curtis (5’10, 148 pounds) spent last season with the Winnipeg Monarchs (WBD1) where he scored 18 goals and 47 points in 30 games. He added 12 penalty minutes.
“Josh Curtis is a skilled forward who is strong on the puck, sees the ice well and has an excellent compete level,” said Prince George Cougars Pacific Area scout Bob Simmonds. “We were surprised to see him still available but we’re glad that he was.”
Goaltender Kye Steinke (Regina, SK) was then picked in the ninth round
Steinke (6’3”, 178 pounds) spent last season with the Regina Monarchs (Bantam AA).
“We’re happy to add a tall, athletic goaltender,” said Prince George Cougars Western Area scout Ron Gunville.
The Cougars went back to British Columbia in the 10th round and took defenceman Dennis Cholowski with the 200th overall selection.
Cholowski (5’6”, 126 pounds) played Bantam with Langley A1 last season.
“He is one of the most skilled defenceman in the draft,” said Prince George Cougars BCMML scout Todd Harkins. “He’s got great vision, is a slick skater and we are glad he was still around at this time.”
With their final pick in the 2013 WHL Bantam Draft, the Prince George Cougars selected forward Cole Young (Saskatoon, SK) in the 11th round (222nd overall).
Last season with the Saskatoon Frostbite Young (5’10”, 178 pounds) scored 14 goals, 36 points and 44 penalty minutes in 26 games.
“Cole has good size, and is a good skater,” said Prince George Cougars Western Area scout Ron Gunville. “We expect him to grow to be a big forward in the future.”
10 players were selected by the Prince George Cougars at the 2013 WHL Bantam Draft. Of those 10 players, six are forwards, three are defenceman and one is a goaltender. The Cougars selected four players from Saskatchewan, two from B.C. and Alberta, one from Manitoba and one from the United States.
The Cougars would like to extend a warm welcome to their entire 2013 draft class.