Dallas/Langley/Vernon/Wenatchee/Penticton – A league-record-tying seven BCHL players were selected and a number of firsts were accomplished for the league at the 2018 NHL Entry Draft in Dallas on Saturday.
First off the board for the league was Penticton Vees defenceman Jonny Tychonick who was selected 48th overall by the Ottawa Senators. The 2018 BCHL First Team all-star is committed to the University of North Dakota for next season.
Next up at No. 81 was Trail Smoke Eaters defenceman Seth Barton who was selected by the Detroit Red Wings. Barton will play at the University of Massachusetts-Lowell and is currently set to leave for school in 2019.
Another defenceman was selected next in Wenatchee Wild blueliner Slava Demin. The California native was nabbed at No. 99 by the Vegas Golden Knights. He becomes the first Wild player drafted since the club joined the BCHL and the first BCHL player drafted by Vegas. Demin was a BCHL Second Team all-star this season and is committed to the University of Denver for the coming season.
It was not a long wait for the next Wild player to be chosen as Jasper Weatherby went at No. 102 to the San Jose Sharks. The BCHL MVP and leading scorer will be a teammate of Tychonick’s at North Dakota next season.
In the fifth round at No. 126, the Senators came calling again when they selected Langley Rivermen forward Angus Crookshank. The 2017 gold medallist with Team Canada West at the World Junior A Challenge (WJAC) will play at the University of New Hampshire next season.
Vernon Vipers forward Brett Stapley‘s name was called next at No. 190 for the Montreal Canadiens. The three-year BCHL veteran also won a gold medal at the WJAC and is will be teammates with Demin at Denver next season.
The final BCHL player selected Saturday was another Vipers standout in goalie Ty Taylor as the Tampa Bay Lightning grabbed him at No. 214. The BCHL Top Goaltender Award winner led the BCHL in save percentage (.931) and goals-against average (1.87) and was a First Team all-star. He will join Crookshank at New Hampshire next season.
At No. 194, Penticton Vees recruit Luke Loheit was selected by the Ottawa Senators. The right-winger from Minnesota will join the Vees this coming season.
Since the NHL went to a seven-round draft in 2005, this marks the third time the BCHL has had as many as seven players selected. There were also seven players taken in 2007 (including Kyle Turris, Jamie Benn and Riley Nash) and in 2013.
The draft haul punctuates an outstanding 2017-18 season for the BCHL which included a Doyle Cup victory for the Wenatchee Wild and an RBC Cup national title for the Chilliwack Chiefs as well as a record 153 commitments to college hockey.