SPOKANE, Wash. – The Spokane Chiefs announced today that top WHL Bantam Draft selection Ty Smith has signed and is committed to playing with the Chiefs in the Western Hockey League. A 5-foot-10, 160-pound defenseman out of Lloydminster, Alberta, Smith was taken first overall by Spokane in the draft on May 7.

“I’m excited and honored to become part of the Chiefs family,” Ty said. “I know that I’m just starting, though. I still have lots of work to do but I’m excited about coming to Spokane and working to make the team (when I’m 16).”

Smith became just the second player ever selected first overall by the Chiefs, joining fellow defenseman Jared Cowen, who was selected with the top pick in 2006. While he was often labeled the consensus number one choice, Smith tried not to worry about the pick too much.

“I just wanted to be the best player,” Ty added. “I had lots of great coaching last year that helped me continue to become a better player and person off the ice.”

Ty’s father, Wayne, shared a similar sentiment about expectations going into the draft. “People kept telling us he was the number one pick, but it was a bit of a relief to know for sure when Tim (Speltz) called us,” Wayne noted.

“We were really just struck with what an honor it was for Ty to be picked first, especially to such a professionally run organization like the Chiefs. It’s a huge accomplishment for Ty and it shows how hard he’s worked toward his goals. It shows how good of a teammate he is.”

General Manager Tim Speltz and the Chiefs’ scouting staff identified Smith as both a high quality player and person. “Ty Smith is a special player but also a special person with strong values and morals,” Speltz said. “The Spokane Chiefs were ecstatic to be able to pick first at the 2015 WHL Bantam Draft and make Ty our selection.

“Having Ty sign a WHL Standard Players Contract is the next step in the process for Ty to become a Chief. We are proud Ty has committed to the Chiefs and the WHL, and we are looking forward to having him on the ice at camp in August,” Speltz added. “Our organization could not be happier to have Ty on board.”

Both Ty and Wayne identified the WHL as the best place for the young defenseman to reach his ultimate goal of playing in the National Hockey League. “My main goal is the play in the NHL, so growing up I always wanted to play in the WHL,” Ty explained. “It’s a great place to develop as a player and as a person. I like the 72-game schedule and how WHL teams are big on helping in the community. I’m excited to do those things.”

The Smiths haven’t yet been to Spokane, but have definitely started researching the city and community. They hope to visit soon. “We’ve looked it up, of course, and we’re excited to get to know it and to watch Ty play there,” said Wayne. “We know it’s a beautiful city with passionate hockey fans.”

Ty looked to his friends and fellow Chiefs prospects Jaret Anderson-Dolan, Ethan McIndoe and Hayden Ostir for inside information. “I talked to them about Spokane and heard nothing but good things about the town, the rink, the management and the coaching,” he reported.

“I’m just excited and honored that I got selected by the Chiefs, and can’t wait to come down and keep working.”

Ticket packages for the Spokane Chiefs’ 2015-16 regular season are on sale NOW and begin under $100! Visit the Chiefs’ Ticket Office at Spokane Arena or call (509) 535-PUCK for more information.

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