The Victoria Royals took steps to restock their future rosters yesterday in Red Deer, selecting 12 players in the annual Western Hockey League bantam draft.
Top of the list for the club at 13th overall was Victoria’s Nolan Bentham. The six-two, 179-pound defenceman came up through the Racquet Club minor hockey system and played last season for Abbotsford-based Yale Hockey Academy prep team of the Canadian Sport School Hockey League. Bentham had 22 points and 34 penalty minutes in 30 games last season, including five points in three playoff games.
He’s described by Royals head scout Ryan Guenter as a “mobile two-way defender who can play on both sides of the ice.”
Bentham, the first Victoria player to go in the draft, was one of four Island players chosen by the Royals through the 12 rounds. The others are centre Cage Newans from Parksville (147th, Delta Bantam Prep), Langford goalie Keegan Maddocks (165th, Pacific Coast Hockey Academy) and Victoria defenceman Ross Roloson (200th, Shawnigan Lake Bantam Prep).
In all, Victoria selected six forwards, five defencemen and one goalie.
While bantam draft selections are only an indication of who might be ready to play at the WHL level in the next one to three years, the Royals second pick in the draft, centre Matty Hodson of the Saskatoon Outlaws appears to cut from the same mold as Matthew Phillips and Dante Hannoun.
Similarly sized at a listed five-seven, 135 pounds, Hodson is a skill player who bagged 44 goals and added 31 assists in 31 games last season in the Saskatchewan Bantam AA League.
“Matty is a very agile player,” Guenter said. “He is offensively gifted and has high productivity.”
With the number 1 overall pick, the Edmonton Oil Kings selected hometown product Dylan Guenther, a high-scoring forward with 103 points in 30 games with Northern Alberta Xtreme Bantam Prep. A total of 223 players born in 2003 were drafted, including 50 from B.C.
Victoria Royals selections 2018 WHL Bantam Draft
(with round and place picked)
1. (13) Nolan Bentham, D, Yale Hockey Academy (Canadian Sport School Hockey League)
3. (52) Matty Hodson, C, Saskatoon Outlaws (Saskatchewan Bantam AA League)
5. (103) Trentyn Crane, C, Pembina Valley Hawks (Winnipeg Bantam AAA Div. 1)
6. (117) Braden Smith, D, Thompson Blazers (Okanagan Mainline)
7. (147) Cage Newans, C, Delta Bantam Prep (CSSHL)
8. (165) Keegan Maddocks, G, Pacific Coast Hockey Academy (CSSHL)
8. (167) Karsten Senden, D, Anchorage U14 North Stars (Alaska State Hockey Tier 1)
8. (168) Chistopher Aleexander, F, Shattuck-St. Mary’s Academy Bantams (Minnesota)
8. (170) Roux Bazin, F, Pembina Valley Hawks
9. (189) Grame Hampton, D, St. Albert Sabres (Alberta Major Bantam Hockey League)
10. (200) Ross Roloson, D, Shawnigan Lake Bantam Prep (CSSHL)
11. (223) Brett Huxley, F, Calgary Northstar Sabres AAA (AMBHL)