The Prince George Cougars Hockey Club is pleased to announce the selection of 10 players at the 2019 WHL Bantam Draft in Red Deer, AB.
The Cougars’ 10 draft picks were comprised of six forwards, three defenceman and one goalie. Six were drafted out of Alberta, three from B.C., and one from Saskatchewan. Prince George had two first round picks, two second-round selections, and a pair of picks in the seventh round. They also had picks in the fourth, eighth, ninth, and 10thround.
Prior to the start of the 2019 WHL Bantam Draft, the Cougars were involved in a three-team trade with the Winnipeg ICE and Saskatoon Blades, which saw the Cougars trade the second overall selection to the ICE for the third pick in the draft, and a third-round pick in the 2020 WHL Bantam Draft.
The Cougars used their first pick, third overall, to select Sherwood Park, AB, product Keaton Dowhaniuk from the OHA Edmonton Bantam Prep team of the Canadian Sport School Hockey League (CSSHL). Widely considered the top defenceman in the 2019 WHL Bantam Draft, Dowhaniuk played in 25 games for OHA Edmonton where he collected 34 points (8g-27a) to go with 34 penalty minutes and led his team in defensive scoring. The 5’10, 160 lb. Dowhaniuk was named the CSSHL Bantam Prep Division Top Defenceman. He also was named an Alberta Cup All-Star after he posted four points (2g-2a) in five games with Team Black.
DraftGeek Scouting Report:Consensus top defenceman in the draft. Dowhaniuk is a formidable two-way defenceman that plays with a physical assertiveness that intimidates opponents. Has a heavy shot from the blue-line and has the potential to be a top two defenceman.
Prince George used their second pick, fourth overall, to select Dowhaniuk’s teammate at OHA Edmonton in forward Koehn Ziemmer. The Mayerthorpe, AB native led OHA Edmonton in scoring, as he compiled 76 points (37g-39a) in just 29 games and finished second in scoring in the CSSHL Bantam Prep Division. The 5’10, 179 lb. Ziemmer also played at the recently completed Alberta Cup, where he tallied four points (2g-2a) in five games for Team Grey.
DraftGeek Scouting Report: Owning a versatile offensive package blended with elite execution and quick hands, Ziemmer’s abilities are respected by defenders and pushes them back. He’s a constant producer who has the ability to score from anywhere.
The Cougars had two picks in the second round. They used their first, 26thoverall, to select forward Kyren Gronick from the Saskatchewan Bantam AA Hockey Leagues’ (SBAAHL) Regina Aces. The Regina, SK, native led the Aces in scoring, as he collected 53 points (27g-26a) and 49 penalty minutes in 24 games. Gronick’s 27 goals were tied for seventh-best in the SBAAHL. The 5’10, 150 lb. power forward wore the ‘C’ for the Aces this past season.
DraftGeek Scouting Report: a big, thick power winger who relies on his physical strength to create scoring chances. He’s skilled with strong edge work and his ability to escape pressure out of corners and play in traffic is tremendous.
With their second selection in the round, 36thoverall, Prince George took defenceman Jaren Brinson. The product of Airdrie, AB, played for the Edge School Bantam Prep team in the CSSHL. In 28 games with the Edge School Mountaineers, the 5’11, 150 lb. blueliner had 11 points (3g-8a) and 55 penalty minutes. Brinson is considered one of the most improved defenceman in this year’s draft class.
DraftGeek Scouting Report: A big physical defensive defenseman with shutdown qualities. Brinson has endless reach allowing him to cut off the ice and contain players one on one.
In the fourth round, the Cougars picked forward Carter MacAdams with the 70thoverall selection. The Langley, B.C. product played this past season for the Delta Hockey Academy Bantam Prep Green team in the CSSHL. MacAdams finished fourth in team scoring with 43 points (24g-19a) in 29 games, to go along with 43 penalty minutes. His 24 goals were second-best on his team and tied for ninth overall in the CSSHL Bantam Prep Division.
DraftGeek Scouting Report: Highly intelligent, offensively minded winger who loves to slow down the game he gets the puck on his stick. MacAdams is extremely effective in tight spaces, stick handles better between the defenders stick and body better than almost all of his peers.
Prince George’s next two picks were in the seventh round, where they nabbed two forwards from the West Van Warriors Hockey Academy in the CSSHL. With the 136thpick in the draft, the Cougars took forward Andrej Kovacevic from the Warriors’ Bantam Prep Team. Kovacevic was third in scoring on the Warriors’ roster, with 52 points (25g-27a) in 30 games. His 25 goals were tied for fifth overall in the CSSHL Bantam Prep Division.
DraftGeek Scouting Report: Long rangy power winger that plays with good intensity and love to agitate the opposing team. Has a sneaky nature to position himself in scoring areas and quickly gets shots off his stick and on net.
With their next pick in the round, 146thoverall, Prince George chose forward Kassius Kler from the Warriors Bantam Varsity team. Kler led the Warriors’ Varsity squad in scoring with 66 points (38g-28a) in 30 games and had 32 penalty minutes. His 38 goals were the most of any player in the CSSHL Bantam Varsity Division.
The Cougars went to the crease for their only pick in the eighth round, 158thoverall, and selected goaltender Ty Young from the Alberta Major Bantam Hockey League’s (AMBHL) Lethbridge Golden Hawks. Young had the third-best save percentage (.919) and the third-most saves (696) in the regular season. The 6’1, 150 lb. puck-stopper posted a 7-10-5 (W-L-T) record.
DraftGeek Scouting Report: Young is a big athletic netminder that’s gifted with natural size. He competes incredibly hard, fighting around screens and battling for position. Shows great poise and doesn’t shy away from the big stage.
In the ninth round, the Prince George addressed their blueline once again, and took defenceman Connor Claughton with the 195thpick in the draft. The rear-guard played this past season for the Red Deer Rebels Bantam AAA team in the AMBHL. Claughton collected 14 points (2g-12a) and 20 penalty minutes in 26 games on the Rebels’ blueline. The 5’8, 138 lb. defenceman played for Team Black at the Alberta Cup, chipping in with a pair of assists in five games.
With their final pick, 202ndoverall, of the 2019 WHL Bantam Draft, the Cougars stayed in Alberta, selecting forward Gavin Schmidt from the Okotoks Oilers Bantam AAA team in the AMBHL. Schmidt averaged just under a point per-game with the Oilers, with 32 points (5g-27a) in 33 games to go along with 30 penalty minutes. His 32 points was fourth-best on the Oilers’ roster. Schmidt won the 2019 Alberta Cup with Team Red. He had two helpers in five games.
Players eligible for the 2019 WHL Bantam Draft were 2004-born players residing in Alberta, B.C., Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Northwest Territories, Yukon, Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Kansas, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Washington and Wyoming.