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Cougars Select 10 players in 2022 WHL Prospects Draft

The 2022 Western Hockey League (WHL) Prospects Draft was held virtually on Thursday and the Prince George Cougars drafted 10 players over eight rounds.

Prince George selected five forwards, four defencemen, and one goalie with their 10 picks. Players eligible for the 2022 WHL Prospects Draft are 2007-born and are eligible to play in the WHL starting in the 2023-24 season.

“As a scouting staff, we’re very happy with this year’s draft class. We feel we got a lot of value in our selections throughout the day, as we had these players high on our lists. A lot of hard work went into it, and we are thrilled with the outcome,” said Cougars’ Director of Scouting, Bob Simmonds.

During the draft, the Cougars did trade their fourth-round pick, 72nd overall, to the Saskatoon Blades, in exchange for 2002-born forward Noah Boyko. Boyko is entering his 20-year-old season and split the 2021-22 campaign between Lethbridge and Saskatoon. In 47 games last season, Boyko had 30 points (16G-14A) in 47 games. The Fort Saskatchewan, AB product had another three points (1G-2A) in five playoff games with Saskatoon.

Draft Recap 

Round 1 (9th overall)- C Lee Shurgot

With their first pick in the 2022 WHL Prospects Draft, the Cougars took centre Lee Shurgot out of Saskatoon, SK. Shurgot played for the Saskatoon Generals U15 AA in the 2021-22 season, and he posted impressive numbers. The 6’0, 165-pound centerman scored 57 goals and amassed 100 points in just 31 regular season games. Shurgot not only led his team in points but had the most goals in the Saskatchewan U15 AA Hockey League. He also posted four points in eight games with the Saskatoon Blazers in the Saskatchewan Male AAA Hockey League (SMAAAHL). Shurgot is committed to play for the Blazers next fall.

“Lee is a player we identified early on in this scouting window. His ability to generate offence is unparalleled. We wanted to add to our young, skilled forwards that we had in place, and we saw Lee as an excellent fit for our group going,” said Cougars’ Director of Scouting Bob Simmonds. “His potential and his ceiling is unlimited. He makes the players around him better.”

It’s the third consecutive year the Cougars have used their top pick on a Saskatoon product. Prince George picked defenceman Tyson Buczkowski in 2021 and forward Riley Heidt in 2020.

Round 2 (28th overall)- C Jett Lajoie

Prince George added another piece down the middle in the second round, picking centre Jett Lajoie 28th overall. The Winnipeg, MB product played for the Winnipeg Bruins Brown U15 AAA team this past season. In 25 games, Lajoie led his team in goals (26), assists (19) and points (45). The 5’11, 152-pound forward was named to the Winnipeg AAA (WAAA) U15 Second All-Star Team in 2021-22. Lajoie also played in six playoff games with the Winnipeg Bruins U17 AAA team and won the 2022 WAAA U17 Championship.

Round 3 (50th overall)- RD Leith Hunter

The Cougars used their first of two third-round picks to grab towering defenceman Leith Hunter. The 6’6,” 169-pound blue liner played this past season for the Vancouver NW Hawks in the B.C. Elite Hockey League (BCEHL) U15 Division. The North Vancouver, BC product had 35 points (9G-26A) in 29 regular season games. Hunter was an Alternate Captain with the Hawks and helped guide them to the 2022 BCEHL U15 championship.

Round 3 (61st overall)- C Aiden Foster

With their second selection of the third round, Prince George selected forward Aiden Foster, who was the Captain of the Lloydminster Bobcats U15 AAA program. Foster racked up 50 points (29G-21A) in 32 games as he led his team in goals and points. The 6’0,” 140-pound forward won the 2022 Alberta Cup with Team Black, as he scored the shootout winner in the championship game. Aiden is the son of former Cougar Aaron Foster, who played for the Cats from 1999-2003.

Round 5 (94th overall)- LD Max Threinen

In the fifth round, the Cougars picked up defenceman Max Threinen from the Yorkton Terries U15 AA. As a defenceman, the Langenburg, SK product led his team with 44 points (21G-23A) in 29 games. Threinen also played a pair of games this season with the Yorkton Maulers U18 team in the SMAAAHL.

Round 6 (116th overall)- G Brady Holtvogt

Brady Holtvogt is the newest addition to the Cougars’ goaltending depth chart. The product of Humboldt, SK played for his hometown Humboldt Broncos U15 AA squad. Holtvogt checks in at 6’0” and 184 pounds. In 23 games he posted a 12-11 record and a 3.03 goals-against average and .915 save percentage.

Round 7 (138th overall)- LD Kieran Thibault

In the seventh round, the Cougars used their first of three selections to add to the blue line. Their first pick was used to nab defenceman Kieran Thibault from the Thompson Blazers U15 AAA. The Kamloops, BC product had 13 points (1G-12A) in 27 games in 2021-22. Thibault is listed at 6’0” and 153 points. 

Round 7 (145th overall)- RD Mitchell DeCoste

Prince George took another rearguard with the 145th overall pick in the draft in Mitchell DeCoste. The 5’8,” 156-pound defenceman played with the Airdrie Xtreme U15 AAA and was fourth in team scoring with 45 points (17G-28A) in 32 games. DeCoste was named an Alberta Elite Hockey League (AEHL) U15 Second Team All-Star.

Round 7 (150th overall)- LW Rowan McDonald

With their third pick of the seventh round, Prince George selected forward Rowan McDonald. McDonald played for the Spruce Grove PAC Saints U15 AAA team in the AEHL U15 Division. The Spruce Grove, AB product had 54 points (30G-24A) in 34 games. The 6’3,” 185-pound winger led the Saints in goals and was second in points. He had a pair of goals in three playoff games.

Round 8 (160th overall)- LW Logan Flint

The Cougars used their final pick of the 2022 WHL Prospects Draft to select forward Logan Flint. The product of Cranbrook, BC played U15 Prep at Rink Hockey Academy Kelowna in the Canadian Sport School Hockey League. In 29 games Flint had 28 points (11G-17A).

The Cougars selected four players from Saskatchewan, three from Alberta, a pair from B.C., and one from Manitoba. For a complete list of the 2022 WHL Prospects Draft, got to WHL.ca/Draft

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