It was a historical weekend for the Prince George Cougars who, for the fourth time in franchise history had four players selected in a single NHL Draft. Saturday in South Florida, Jansen Harkins (Winnipeg Jets, Round 2, 47th Overall), Brad Morrison (New York Rangers, Round 4, 113th Overall). Sam Ruopp (Round 5, 129th Overall), and Tate Olson (Vancouver Canucks, 210th Overall) were selected.
The first Prince George Cougar player selected Saturday was Jansen Harkins (North Vancouver, B.C.) who went to the Winnipeg Jets in the second round (47th overall). The reigning MVP of the Prince George Cougars joins and up-and-coming Winnipeg Jets organization who have shown in recent years that they’re not shy about selecting WHL talent.
“On behalf of our entire ownership group, we are very proud of Jansen and all that he has accomplished to this point in his hockey career,” said Prince George Cougars President, Greg Pocock. “He is a terrific ambassador for our team and our city, and he has demonstrated the necessary work ethic, focus and desire needed to be a professional hockey player.”
“All of Jansen Harkins’ success to this point in his young career has been well deserved,” adds Prince George Cougars Head Coach, Mark Holick. “Everything he does is with professional hockey in mind, and this experience will only help his confidence moving forward. He’s going to be a big part of our team next season and I know that he’s up for the challenge. The Winnipeg Jets picked a great player and a great person.”
Harkins becomes the first Prince George Cougar ever drafted by the Winnipeg Jets franchise.
Up next was Brad Morrison (West Kelowna/Prince George, B.C.) who went 113th overall to the 2015 President’s Trophy winners, the New York Rangers.
“Brad Morrison is a tremendously gifted offensive player with loads of potential upside,” said Prince George Cougars General Manager, Todd Harkins. “He’s the type of player that can change the course of a game with his creativity and skill and we are thrilled for Brad that he’ll have the chance to further grow and develop his game with the New York Rangers.”
“He is one of the most talented young players that I’ve ever coached,” adds Prince George Cougars Head Coach, Mark Holick. “He is developing into one of the most exciting offensive players in our league, and his experiences with the New York Rangers will really help his all-around game.”
Morrison is the second ever Prince George Cougar to have been selected by the New York Rangers.
Cougars captain Sam Ruopp saw his name on the draft sheet moments later. The product of Zehner, SK was picked by the Columbus Blue Jackets in the fifth round (129th overall).
“Sam Ruopp is one of the most physically imposing defenceman in the entire WHL, and the Columbus Blue Jackets will be thrilled with his leadership and his passion for the game,” said Prince George Cougars General Manager, Todd Harkins. “He’s a heart-and-soul guy for our organization and being selected by the Columbus Blue Jackets will only help his confidence and development moving forward.”
“It has been a true pleasure getting a chance to coach Sam Ruopp over the past two seasons,” adds Prince George Cougars Head Coach, Mark Holick. “He’s the heart-and-soul of our team, and he is incredibly deserving of being drafted by the Columbus Blue Jackets. We’re all excited to see what the future holds for Sam and all of our prospects selected this weekend.“
Ruopp became the second Prince George Cougar to have ever been selected by the Columbus Blue Jackets.
With the second to last pick in the 2015 NHL Draft, the Vancouver Canucks grabbed Prince George Cougars defenceman Tate Olson (Saskatoon, SK) 210th overall.
“Tate Olson is a dynamic, two-way defenceman who really improved as the season went along,” said Prince George Cougars General Manager, Todd Harkins. “He’s going to be a very important part of our team over the next few seasons, and the professional experience that he gains with the Vancouver Canucks will be invaluable for his future development.”
“Tate continues to improve in all facets of his game,” adds Prince George Cougars Head Coach, Mark Holick. “He can do a lot of different things to help a team win games, and I fully expect him to continue developing into one of the most well-rounded defenceman in our league. The Vancouver Canucks got a real steal.”
Moments after Olson’s selection, Vancouver Canucks President, Hockey Operations Trevor Linden told Cougars President, Greg Pocock, “This will make Training Camp in Prince George a lot more interesting.”
The entire Prince George Cougars organization could not be happier for the four young men who were selected this weekend in South Florida.