232 players - including 128 forwards, 88 defensemen, and 16 goaltenders were selected by Western Hockey League (WHL) in the 2023 WHL Prospects Draft. Out of the hundreds of players, there are many local athletes.
In the first-round draft local players include Riley Boychuk, a forward for the Airdrie Xtreme U15 AAA who was chosen by the Prince Albert Raiders as their second-choice in the first draft round. The Raiders' first choice in the first round was Daxon Rudolph from Northern Alberta's Xtreme U15 Prep.
The Xtreme's defenceman, Aaron Sawatzky was chosen 16th overall in the first round by the Moose Jaw Warriors.
In the second-round prospects draft, Airdrie Xtreme's Bennet Kelley was selected 27th overall for the Prince Albert Raiders. While in the third round, Caelan Joudrey was selected 66th overall for the Winnipeg ICE.
In the fourth round, Airdrie Xtreme player Rhett Sather was selected 68th overall for the Spokane Chiefs, while Xtreme's Isaac Davies was selected 72nd in the fourth round for the Brandon Wheat Kings.
In the fifth round, Airdrie's Finn Bagley was selected 92nd overall for the Seattle Thunderbirds, while Will McLaughlin was 105th overall for the Portland Winterhawks.
In the eighth round, Airdrie Xtreme's Griffin Horne was selected 158th overall for Calgary Hitmen, while in the ninth round, Keegan Bailey was selected 197th overall for the Seattle Thunderbirds.
Tyson Soloski, the Xtreme's Head Coach reflected on what this means for Airdrie's hockey club.
"I think it means that we had a really good group of kids this year and we had a really strong team with a very successful season as one team," he said. "It's super rewarding as a coach to see all the hard work that they've put in - it is tremendous to see them rewarded by getting drafted. Now the hard work continues."
According to the WHL, Alberta led all provincial branches with 93 players selected, followed by British Columbia with 50 players selected. 44 players were selected from Saskatchewan, while Manitoba saw 38 players selected.
"The first three rounds of the 2023 WHL Prospects Draft featured 30 players selected from the Canadian Sports School Hockey League, comprising 45 per cent of the total. In all, 85 players from the CSSHL were chosen," The WHL stated. "Thursday’s proceedings saw seven players selected from the United States, following on the heels of 44 American-born players taken in the 2023 WHL U.S. Priority Draft on Wednesday."
The entire list of all players selected in the 2023 WHL Prospects Draft is available here.
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