Chiefs sign first-overall U.S. pick Gillespie, third-overall WHL Prospects pick Preston

Spokane, Wash. — The Spokane Chiefs are proud to announce that forward prospects Brody Gillespie and Mathis Preston have signed WHL Scholarship and Development Agreements. Gillespie was selected first overall in last week’s U.S. Priority Draft and Preston was selected third overall in the 2023 WHL Prospects Draft.

“We are excited that Brody and Mathis along with their families have committed to the Spokane Chiefs organization,” Chiefs General Manager Matt Bardsley said. “We look forward to helping them maximize their development, while their strong contributions add to our team success.”

Gillespie, a six-foot forward out of Vancouver, Washington, spent the 2022-23 season with RINK Hockey Academy Kelowna U15 Prep where he finished as the third-highest scorer on his team after piling up 100 points in 61 games (45G-55A). He tacked on another pair of goals and assists for four points over five playoff games. Gillespie finished the season ranked within the top ten skaters in the CSSHL through 28 league games (26G-28A) and averaged 1.93 points per game.

Prior to that, Gillespie played 38 games with the Wenatchee Wolverines 14U AAA squad in 2021-22, where he put in a steady 39 points on 27 goals and 12 assists.

“I am so honored to be selected first overall in the U.S. Draft by the Spokane Chiefs, a top organization with incredible staff, coaches, players, fans and community support,” Gillespie said. “I can’t wait to get started with the Chiefs and I’m excited for the future.”

“Brody is a complete two-way center who excels in all areas of the ice,” Bardsley said of Gillespie. “He’s a strong skater who has very good puck skills along with excellent sense for the game. He brings with him a strong leadership approach and we are thrilled to have him join our organization.”

Preston, a five-foot-eleven forward from Penticton, B.C., spent the 2022-23 season with Okanagan Hockey Academy U15 Prep, where he racked up 81 points (45G-36A) in just 26 games. He also played in four playoff games, piling on another 10 points with seven goals and three assists. Preston finished third in CSSHL scoring and earned U15 Prep Division MVP Award honors earlier this month.

In 2021-22, Preston played up with OHA U15 Prep and chipped in 29 points on 15 goals and 14 assists over 22 games.

The 2008-born forward will join fellow recent first-round picks F Chase Harrington (2022 – 8th overall), F Berkly Catton (2021 – 1st overall) and D Saige Weinstein (2020 – 18th overall).

“It’s an honor to be drafted by the Spokane Chiefs organization,” Preston said. “I can’t wait to meet the rest of the team and coaching staff. I’m grateful for this opportunity and I look forward to representing the Chiefs.”

“Mathis is an explosive skater, which enables him to be dangerous in transition or on the attack,” Bardsley said of Preston. “He possesses an elite level shot and has the ability to break the game open. We are excited to have him join our organization.”

Gillespie and Preston are first eligible to join the Chiefs as full-time players during the 2024-25 season and can play up to five games as Affiliated Players in 2023-24.

The Spokane Chiefs are a member of the U.S. Division of the Western Hockey League, the world’s finest development league for junior hockey players. Since 1985 the Chiefs have been a pillar in the Spokane community, offering family-friendly entertainment and a winning tradition, which includes: two Memorial Cup Championships in 1991 & 2008, two WHL Championships in 1991 & 2008 and four Western Conference Championships in 1991, 1996, 2000 & 2008. Over 60 alumni have gone on to play in the National Hockey League.

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