Chiefs Prepare for Bantam Draft, WHL Awards Luncheon - ABC FOX MONTANA NEWS, WEATHER, SPORTS - KTMF/KWYB

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Chiefs Prepare for Bantam Draft, WHL Awards Luncheon

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Mitch Holmberg is already the Western Conference Player of the Year and could be the WHL's POY by Wednesday. Mitch Holmberg is already the Western Conference Player of the Year and could be the WHL's POY by Wednesday.

by Spokane Chiefs Media Relations

SPOKANE, Wash. - All 22 Western Hockey League teams will meet in Calgary this week for the annual WHL Awards Luncheon on Wednesday and subsequent WHL Bantam Draft on Thursday.

Mitch Holmberg, the Chiefs’ all-time leader in goals scored, is the Western Conference nominee for two awards; the Four Broncos Memorial Trophy for WHL Player of the Year and the Brad Hornung Trophy for WHL Most Sportsmanlike Player of the Year. Holmberg is nominated alongside Eastern Conference opponent Sam Reinhart of Kootenay for both awards. Holmberg was the Chiefs’ 1st Round (28th Overall) WHL Bantam Draft selection in 2008.

The Bantam Draft marks the end of a long year of evaluation for Chiefs’ Director of Player Personnel Chris Moulton and his scouting staff. It is the first opportunity for teams to replenish their systems with graduating Bantam-aged players.

“Our scouts and I cover a lot of ground all winter, attending Bantam games and Bantam tournaments to create our Bantam Draft List,” Moulton explained. “We recently finished our last tournament in Strathmore, Alberta, and are now building our final list. Tim (Speltz) and I will meet this week in Calgary with our scouts and finalize the list to get us ready for Thursday’s draft.”

The order of selection for the first round of the draft is determined through a weighted lottery consisting of the six non-playoff teams. The remaining order is based on the inverse overall standings from the regular season. This year’s first overall selection is held by the Brandon Wheat Kings, acquired via trade with the Saskatoon Blades.

Spokane holds six selections in the first four rounds of Thursday’s draft, including the 14th Overall pick.

“The draft this year is solid. There may not be as many high profile players as last year, but there are some very good, elite players at the top while also having some depth. We will have a list of well over 200 players that will help us make our selections.

“Our focus for the draft is to get the best player at every selection, regardless of position. We definitely have some depth on defense, so we would like to have similar depth in forward and in goal. We felt we had a great draft last season and are hoping this one will be similar. We believe, as a group, that you win from developing your own players.”

Players eligible for the 2014 WHL Bantam Draft include 1999-born players who reside in the following provinces or states: Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Northwest Territories, Yukon, Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Kansas, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming.

Players not selected in the Bantam Draft are then eligible to be listed by WHL clubs, with many being added to WHL Club Protected Player Lists as spots become available.

Seventeen of the 26 players on the Chiefs’ 2014 playoff roster were selected in the WHL Bantam Draft; 13 by Spokane originally.

CHIEFS AVAILABLE DRAFT SELECTIONS

1st Round (14th Overall)

2nd (36th)

3rd (48th) [acquired via trade from Moose Jaw]

3rd (58th)

4th (71st) [acquired via trade from Prince George]

4th (80th)

6th (124th)

7th (146th)

8th (168th)

9th (190th)

10th (212th)

11th (234th)

12th (256th)

2014-15 season ticket packages are available now! Visit the Chiefs' Ticket Office in person or call a Chiefs' Ticket Account Executive at (509) 535-PUCK for more information.

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