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HITMEN DRAFT SELECTIONS

May 03, 2012 - 10:52 MDT
Written By: Buye, Avery

When the time came for the Calgary Hitmen to select their first round, 17th overall pick in this year’s WHL Bantam Draft, the only riddle to the team’s selection was in the player’s name.  
 
Brennan Riddle, a 14-year-old defenceman of the Prairie Storm (Saskatchewan Bantam AA) is the latest addition to the Calgary Hitmen Hockey Club.
 
“I was in gym class. Myself and my buddy were sitting on the bench and he saw on Twitter that Calgary drafted me.  He showed me his phone and just kind of smiled about it and seconds later I was back playing hand ball,” said Riddle, reflecting on the announcement. “I’m proud that Calgary picked me, it was a really exciting moment.”
 
 The 6’1 towering defenceman put up 14 points (10g, 4a) over 20 games played this past season.
 
“We are very pleased to get him, a high ranked, very good-sized skating defenceman,” said Hitmen Head Scout, Dan Bonar on their first round selection. “He skates very well, as well as anybody in the draft. It’s important to me in this day and age that defencemen can move and that’s what we like about him.”
 
“I trained a lot last summer and worked really hard this year and had a great season.  I just need to keep working at it this summer.  I want to do whatever I can to make the team and play in the WHL at 16,” said Riddle, already looking to the future.
Hitmen GM, Kelly Kisio acknowledges that this young player will fit in well amongst the sturdy Hitmen blueliners.
 
“He’ll be a good addition to a really strong defensive core,” said Kisio, following the selection. “We thought he was the best player at that point and we probably would have taken him earlier if we would have had a pick earlier, that’s how much we like him.”
 
Most recently, Riddle captured the All-Star Defenceman Award in Regina at the Bantam AA Challenge in November 2011.
 
This draft pick was particularly special to the town of Balgonie, Saskatchewan, the hometown of the rearguard.
 
“We’re very excited that he was drafted and certainly the fact that he’s going to the Hitmen is great news for us. Obviously it’s a really strong program there and we’re just thrilled,” said Brennan’s dad, Dave Riddle, just moments after the first round selections wrapped up.
 
The Calgary Hitmen followed up the defensive selection with a centreman. 15-year-old Terrell Draude, of the Sask Valley Vipers (SBAA) was the second round selection (39th overall) for the Hitmen.
 
“It’s a first-class organization, seems like a great place to play and I’m looking forward to playing there in the future. I’m very excited, it’s a huge honour to be drafted,” said Draude after his school day wrapped up.  
 
The 6’2 forward had a breakout 2011-12 season with the Vipers, racking up 94 points (54g, 40a) in 24 games to lead the Saskatchewan Bantam AA league in scoring.
 
Draude said he was sitting in math class when he received the news from his mom over a text message.
 
“At school everyone was giving me high fives in the hallway and everyone in class gave me a round of applause so it was a proud moment for me.”
 
While initially ranked 18th overall in the Draft pool by thehockeywriters.com, Draude’s selection by Calgary demonstrates their belief in his future development.
 
“He has a tremendous amount of skill for his size, his skating needs a little bit of work but we’ve all seen him play and we thought that with time he’d get stronger and become a better player,” said Bonar.
 
“I need to work on my skating a little bit but I’ve been working very hard on that, for the past three or four years I’ve been training hard and going to power skating,” commented Draude on continuing development.
 
Bonar added, “His upside was that he showed leadership being a captain of the team, plus a tremendous skill set for a guy that’s 6’2.”
 
The Hitmen scouting staff believe these top two picks bring different, yet important, elements to the hockey club.
 
“With a player like Brennan Riddle, we have an outstanding skater and with a guy like Terrell you get a type of player who is a little more skilled and more of an offensive guy.”
 
Looking ahead, Dave Riddle joked that the commute to Calgary poses no trouble for the family as living in Saskatchewan has prepared them for long trips.
 
“In Saskatchewan we’ll drive 4 or 5 hours just for practice time so I think it’s 7 or 8 hour drive to Calgary and that’s not an issue for us at all.”
 
In total, Calgary drafted 10 players today in the 2012 WHL Bantam Draft, including five forwards, four defencemen and one goaltender.


Calgary Hitmen 2012 WHL Bantam Draft Selections

Rnd

O/A

Player

Pos.

Ht.

Wt.

Team

1

17

Brennan Riddle

D

6’1”

164

Prairie Storm Bantam AA (SBAA)

2

39

Terrell Draude

C

6’2”

188

Sask Valley Vipers Bantam AA (SBAA)

4

83

Jordan Stallard

C/RW

5’9”

140

Brandon Bantam AAA (WBD1)

4

84

Cal Babych

RW

5’10”

160

NSWC Bantam A1-T1 (PCBHL)

5

105

Scott Petkau

C

5’10”

159

Southeast Blizzard Bantam AA (EBAHL)

6

127

Carson Franks

G

5’11”

158

Red Deer Black Bantam AAA (AMBHL)

7

149

Lochlan Morrison

D

5’11”

188

PA Venice House Raiders Bantam AA (SBAA)

8

171

Alex McGovern

D

5’11”

150

Notre Dame Hounds Bantam AA (SBAA)

9

193

James Shearer

D

5’7”

169

Brandon Bantam AAA (WBD1)

10

215

Grady McInnes

C

5’9”

145

Campbell River Bantam Team 2 (VIAHA)