As the hockey world turned all eyes to the entry draft in Chicago this weekend, fans in B.C.’s interior got to watch local products get another step closer to the NHL.
Two Kelowna Rockets, two incoming Penticton Vees and a Kamloops Blazer were among those drafted last night, June 23, and today, June 24.
The highest local draft pick was Rocket defenceman Cal Foote, taken by the Tampa Bay Lightning in the first round, 14 overall. The son of Adam Foote, who played defence for nearly 20 years in the NHL, the younger Foote is coming off a solid season with 57 points — 51 of which were assists — and a plus/minus of +39.
"Today was very exciting but at the same time I was very nervous getting to the rink," Foote says in a press release. "The experience was amazing. It was so professional and very fun to be a part of."
Foote’s teammate Kole Lind was also drafted quite high, as the second pick in the second round for the Vancouver Canucks. Lind, a forward, notched more than a point a game last season with the Rockets and led the team with 87 points.
"The experience was amazing. It was obviously tough not to go on the first day, but I was happy to get it over with early this morning and go to a great organization in Vancouver," Lind says in a Rockets press release.
Dylan Ferguson, one of the Blazers goalies last season, was the 194 pick overall, by the Dallas Stars. With last year’s starter and Lightning prospect Connor Ingram expected to turn pro next season, according to a Blazers press release, it’s likely Kamloops fans will see Ferguson in net a lot more.
The WHL had a solid 2017 draft, with seven players picked in the first round coming from the league, and 33 through all seven rounds.
While neither have played a game for Penticton’s BCHL team yet, Vees Ryan O’Connell and Nick Leivermann were both selected by NHL teams in the final round. Leivermann was the first pick of round seven by the Colorado Avalanche and O’Connell was the 203 overall pick for the Toronto Maple Leafs. Both will be playing in Penticton for the 2017/18 season according to the team's website.
To contact a reporter for this story, email Brendan Kergin or call 250-819-6089 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.
We welcome your comments and opinions on our stories but play nice. We won't censor or delete comments unless they contain off-topic statements or links, unnecessary vulgarity, false facts, spam or obviously fake profiles. If you have any concerns about what you see in comments, email the editor in the link above.