Tuesday, April 27, 2010

"AA" Raiders Prepare for WHL Bantam Draft

As many as six "AA" bantam Kabos Raiders players could be selected in Thursday's WHL Bantam Draft set for Edmonton's Fantasy Land hotel in the West Edmonton Mall.

The "AA" Raiders had a strong season under Head Coach Kent Woods. Woods says it should be an exciting day for his team.

"It's a great opportunity...they're saying their could be six or seven guys drafted (from the Raiders) which is great for the program and Swift Current Minor Hockey," commented Woods.

Two players receiving the most attention could Zack Mackay and Justin Spagrud. The two could be taken as high as the 2nd round.

"They've gotten a lot of attention throughout the year," said Woods.

"It's all been well deserved. They have both been MVP's of tournaments and have received all-star selections. The attention has been rightfully deserved."

I also got the thoughts of Woods on some of the players being talked about leading up to the bantam draft.

Zack Mackay - "He's a character player. No matter what the situation is he's always bringing 100 percent. He skates as good as anyone in the province, speed-wise he's second to none. I think that's what makes him so effective. He's a pretty unstoppable force at times."

Justin Spagrud - "He's a game-breaker. If you need a goal, you could almost give him a wink and for some reason or somehow he would find a way to score a goal. He has the ability to turn a game around with one shift and one shot."

Josh Wik - "Really big, physical. Being 6'3 or 6'4 he skates very well. He's still improving and will continue to improve before he makes the jump to the next level."

Chase Nelson - "Big, strong hardworking guy. He can very intimidating when he gets wound up. Then he will pull a move on you that most big guys don't have at 13 or 14 years-old. That's what makes him among the best of the bigger forwards in Saskatchewan."

Dalton Menke - "For us he was a defensive forward. He's has great vision. He sees the ice well."

Spencer Wand - "He's been one of our top players. He was one of the best defenseman at the Saskatoon tournament. Spencer's physical presence, the way he skates and shoots the puck and the ability to quarterback the powerplay made him very valuable to our team."

Coming up tomorrow, we will get a Swift Current Broncos draft preview from Director of Player Personnel Jaime Porter.


Sakic Honoured

The Western Hockey League and the WHL Alumni Association announced today the recipients of this year’s WHL Alumni Association Achievement Awards. In the professional hockey category the recipient of the Alumni Achievement Award is former Swift Current Bronco Joe Sakic while in the Academic Scholarship category the recipient is former Kelowna Rocket Gavin McLeod.

The WHL Alumni Achievement Award annually recognizes WHL graduates who pursued professional hockey and achieved a distinguished career in the NHL as well as an Alumnus who has obtained a post secondary education through the WHL Scholarship Program and has moved on to a highly successful business career. The recipients are selected annually by the WHL Alumni Association Executive Committee, which is headed by former WHL and NHL graduate Kelly Hrudey.

Professional Hockey Recipient – Joe Sakic

Joe Sakic, a native of Burnaby, British Columbia, appeared in three games during the 1985-86 Western Hockey League season with the Lethbridge Broncos before joining the Club when it relocated to Swift Current, where he played two full seasons in 1986-87 and 1987-88. In those two seasons with the Broncos, Sakic accumulated 138 goals, 155 assists for 293 points in 139 games. During the 1987-88 WHL season, Sakic led all WHL scorers with 78 goals and 82 assists for 160 points in 64 games played.

Sakic was a first round selection (15th overall) by the Quebec Nordiques in the 1987 NHL Entry Draft. Sakic went on to a NHL career that spanned 20 seasons and 1,378 games from 1988-2009. He played his entire NHL career with the Quebec Nordiques/Colorado Avalanche organization.

Sakic wore the ‘C’ as team captain for 16 consecutive seasons (17 seasons overall), making him the second-longest serving captain in NHL history. Sakic led the Avalanche to two Stanley Cup titles (1996, 2001) and captured the franchise’s first Hart Trophy as league MVP in 2001, won the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP in 1996, earned the Lester B. Pearson Award (NHLPA MVP) and Lady Byng Trophy (sportsmanship) in 2001 and was named to the NHL’s First All-Star Team on three occasions (2001, 2002 and 2004).

Sakic, 40, retired in the summer of 2009 as the eighth-leading scorer in NHL history with 1,641 career points. He sits 14th all-time in goals (625) and 11th in assists (1,016). Only four players have ever recorded more points with a single franchise: Gordie Howe (1809) and Steve Yzerman (1755) with Detroit, Mario Lemieux with Pittsburgh (1723) and Wayne Gretzky with Edmonton (1669). Sakic ranks seventh all-time in both playoff goals (84) and playoff points (188-tied), and holds the NHL record with eight postseason overtime goals.

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