Bantam Draft Recap: Chiefs’ 2017 Class Headlined By Finley At Sixth Overall

CALGARY – The Spokane Chiefs selected forward Jack Finley with the sixth overall pick of the 2017 WHL Bantam Draft in Calgary on Thursday morning. Finley was one of 11 players selected by the Chiefs in the annual draft, including five forwards, five defensemen and one goaltender.

“Jack is a big man, plays up the middle and understands the game,” said the Chiefs’ Assistant General Manager of Hockey Operations, Chris Moulton. “He plays hard and smart and produces. He also showed constant improvement throughout the season and that’s important to us.”

“You just can’t find bigger bodies that play center like him. He’s a great combination of size, skill and character. He plays a 200-foot game and having that type of big body who can play in any situation is invaluable. We’re always trying to acquire guys like Finley and just couldn’t pass up on him.”

At 6-foot-3 and 184 pounds, Finley fits the “power forward” description as a big body with a scoring touch and offensive instincts. The Kelowna, B.C. native put up 23 goals and 25 assists for 48 points in with the Pursuit of Excellence Bantam Prep team of the Canadian Sport School Hockey League (CSSHL) last season. He added a goal and five assists in five games at the annual John Reid Memorial Tournament.

Jack Finley POE
Jack Finley (POE)

Finley has hockey bloodlines as his father Jeff played over 700 games in the NHL as a defenseman from 1987-2004, primarily with the St. Louis Blues. He was a third round pick by the New York Islanders in the 1985 NHL Entry Draft and played out his junior career with the Portland Winter Hawks.

“It helps, because it helps them understand what it takes to be a hockey players, what kind of dedication and off-ice commitment it takes,” Moulton said when asked about the importance of Finley’s bloodlines. “But Jack earned everything on his own merit. He’s a heck of a hockey player and we’re very happy to have him.”

Chiefs’ 2017 WHL Bantam Draft Selections

1st Round (6th Overall) – Jack Finley

  • Position: Forward
  • Hometown: Kelowna, BC
  • Measurables: 6’3″, 184 lbs, shoots right
  • 2016-17: POE Bantam Prep (CSSHL)
  • Stats: 23 goals, 25 assists, 48 points in 27 GP
  • Scouting Report: (see above)
Campbell Arnold
Campbell Arnold, Shawnigan Lake — Photo:

2nd Round (28th Overall) – Campbell Arnold

  • Position: Goaltender
  • Hometown: Nanaimo, BC
  • Measurables: 5’11”, 155 lbs
  • 2016-17: Shawnigan Lake School Bantam Prep (CSSHL)
  • Stats: 4.40 GAA, .877 SV% in 17 GP. Faced over 50 shots six times, including an 80-save performance on 84 shots faced. Three shutouts.
  • Scouting Report: “Campbell is an elite goaltender. He keeps his team in every game, has great athletic ability and tracks the puck very well.”

3rd Round (50th Overall) – Mac Gross

  • Position: Defense
  • Hometown: Swift Current, SK
  • Measurables: 6’1.5″, 160 lbs, shoots left
  • 2016-17: Swift Current Raiders Bantam AA (SBAAHL)
  • Stats: 7 goals, 12 assists, 19 points in 19 GP. Added 2 goals and 8 assists for 10 points in 13 playoff games.
  • Scouting Report: “Mac has good size and is a well-rounded defenseman. Very smart. He makes a very good first pass and sees the ice well. He has excellent character.”

4th Round (80th Overall) – Zac Robins

  • Position: Defense
  • Hometown: Yorkton, SK
  • Measurables: 5’9.5″, 160 lbs, shoots left
  • 2016-17: Weyburn Wings Bantam AA (SBAAHL)
  • Stats: 8 goals, 9 assists, 17 points, 62 PIM in 26 GP. Added 2 goals in 5 playoff games.
  • Scouting Report: “Zac is a skilled puck-moving defenseman. He has an excellent, heavy shot. We were also impressed by his character and work ethic.”

5th Round (94th Overall) – Erik Atchison

  • Position: Forward
  • Hometown: Las Vegas, NV
  • Measurables: 5’10”, 174 lbs, shoots right
  • 2016-17: Arizona Bobcats 14U
  • Stats: 40 goals, 26 assists, 81 PIM in 60 GP.
  • Scouting Report: “Erik is a two-way, 200-foot player who is impressive on the forecheck. He has the skill to contribute offensively.”

6th Round (115th Overall) – Reed Jacobson

  • Position: Forward
  • Hometown: Swift Current, SK
  • Measurables: 5’7.5″, 151 lbs, shoots left
  • 2016-17: Swift Current Broncos Bantam AA (SBAAHL)
  • Stats: 39 goals, 31 assists, 70 points, 41 PIM in 29 GP. Added 9 goals and 5 assists in 9 playoff games.
  • Scouting Report: “Reed is a smooth-skating, skilled centerman. He was captain of a championship team at the bantam level and it shows in his leadership abilities.”
Alex Von Sprecken
Alex Von Sprecken, Notre Dame Hounds — Photo:

6th Round (116th Overall) – Alex Von Sprecken

  • Position: Defense
  • Hometown: Estevan, SK
  • Measurables: 5’9″, 165 lbs, shoots left
  • 2016-17: Notre Dame Hounds Bantam Prep (CSSHL)
  • Stats: 3 assists, 42 PIM in 30 GP
  • Scouting Report: “Alex is a solid all-around defenseman. We like that he plays with an edge, is very athletic and competes every game.”
Ryan Popowich
Ryan Popowich, OHA — Photo:

6th Round (119th Overall) – Ryan Popowich

  • Position: Forward
  • Hometown: Surrey, BC
  • Measurables: 5’10”, 170 lbs, shoots left
  • 2016-17: Okanagan Hockey Academy Bantam Prep (CSSHL)
  • Stats: 6 goals, 7 assists, 13 points, 100 PIM in 26 GP. Added 1 goal and 4 PIM in 2 playoff games.
  • Scouting Report: “Ryan is a very aggressive, physical player who is very hard to play against. He has tons of grit.”

7th Round (138th Overall) – Hendrik de Klerk

  • Position: Defense
  • Hometown: Swift Current, SK
  • Measurables: 5’6.5″, 135 lbs, shoots left
  • 2016-17: Swift Current Broncos Bantam AA (SBAAHL)
  • Stats: 7 goals, 30 assists, 37 points in 30 GP
  • Scouting Report: “Hendrik is a very smart puck-moving defenseman who makes those around him better.”

8th Round (160th Overall) – Hunter Hastings

  • Position: Forward
  • Hometown: Scottsdale, AZ
  • Measurables: 5’11”, 185 lbs, shoots right
  • 2016-17: Arizona Bobcats 14U
  • Stats: Unavailable
  • Scouting Report: “Hunter is a good skater and handles the puck very well. He sees the ice and has a strong compete level.”

9th Round (179th Overall) – Kurt Hoogendoorn

  • Position: Defense
  • Hometown: North Vancouver, BC
  • Measurables: 6’0″, 178 lbs, shoots left
  • 2016-17: Vancouver NW Giants (BCMML)
  • Stats: 3 GP
  • Scouting Report: “Kurt is a big, strong stay-at-home defenseman. He skates well and has good size.”

Draft Breakdown

By position: 5 forwards, 5 defensemen, 1 goaltender

By province/state: Saskatchewan (5), British Columbia (4), Arizona (1), Nevada (1)

Selection Summary

Round (Overall) – Name – Position – Hometown

1(6) – Jack Finley – F – Kelowna, BC
2(28) – Campbell Arnold – G – Nanaimo, BC
3(50) – Mac Gross – D – Swift Current, SK
4(80) – Zac Robins – D – Yorkton, SK
5(94) – Erik Atchison – F – Las Vegas, NV
6(115) – Reed Jacobson – F – Swift Current, SK
6(116) – Alex Von Sprecken – D – Estevan, SK
6(119) – Ryan Popowich – F – Surrey, BC
7(138) – Hendrik de Klerk – D – Swift Current, SK
8(160) – Hunter Hastings – F – Scottsdale, AZ
9(179) – Kurt Hoogendoorn – D – North Vancouver, BC

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