SPOKANE, Wash. – The Spokane Chiefs selected highly touted defenseman Ty Smith with the first overall pick in the 2015 WHL Bantam Draft on Thursday morning. The 5-foot-10, 154-pound Smith, from Lloydminster, Alberta, became the second ever first overall selection by the Chiefs, joining fellow blueliner Jared Cowen (2006). In total, the Chiefs selected 13 players in the draft: seven forwards, four defensemen and two goaltenders.
“Ty is a dynamic player that makes an impact every shift,” said Chiefs Director of Player Personnel Chris Moulton. “He is a leader and competitor.”
“Ty’s vision is as good as I have ever seen and he makes those around him better.”
Smith competed with the Delta Hockey Academy Bantam Prep team in the Canadian Sport School Hockey League during the 2014-15 season. He scored nine goals and 19 assists in 16 regular season games, adding three goals and four assists in four playoff games. During the 2013-14 season, Smith played 33 games with the Lloydminster Heat of the AMBHL, scoring 16 goals and 60 points while adding two goals and 11 points in 11 playoff games.
The defenseman competed with Spokane prospects Jaret Anderson-Dolan and Ethan McIndoe (the 14th and 36th overall picks, respectively, in the 2014 WHL Bantam Draft) in the 2015 Canada Winter Games, helping Team Alberta win the silver medal. He scored two goals and added an assist in six tournament games.
“(Smith’s) impact at the Canada Winter Games definitely solidified his status with us,” Moulton continued. “He showed our organization that he can elevate his games against older players.”
Spokane then chose forward Koby Morrisseau with the ninth overall pick; just the 12th Top 10 pick in franchise history, including Smith.
At 6-foot-1 and 170 pounds, Morrisseau provides size up front for the Chiefs, but not at the expense of skilled play. A native of Grandview, Manitoba, he scored 39 goals and 22 assists for the Parkland Rangers Bantam AAA team during the 2014-15 season.
“Koby is a power forward type player. He is a great combination of size, skill and grit.
“He was a leader with his team on and off the ice. Koby has huge upside potential to be an impact WHL player.”
Matthew Leduc was selected in the second round (31st overall) by Spokane. A big, 6-foot-4, 195-pound defenseman out of Richmond, B.C., Leduc played with the Richmond Bantam A1 Blues in the BCBHL last season. He projects to be a stay-at-home defenseman at the next level.
“Matthew is a big man who has taken huge steps. He uses his large frame well to play physical and competes. He makes good decisions with the puck and has tons of upside.”
Spokane used their second of two second round selections to pick forward Damon Zimmer of Camrose, Alberta. Zimmer, a 6-foot-1, 188-pound left-hand shot scored 36 points (19 goals, 17 assists) in 33 games with the Camrose Red Wings Bantam AAA last season.
“Damon has the size, tools and hockey sense to make an impact in the WHL. We were really impressed with his physical game and work ethic, but he also scores. He is good on the forecheck and is willing to go into the corners.”
Spokane added a goaltender in the third round, selecting Donovan Buskey out of North Vancouver, B.C. Buskey, at 6-foot-2 and 202 pounds, played in 37 games with the North Shore Winter Club Winterhawks Bantam A1 team last season, winning 27 with 17 shutouts.
“Donovan is a big goalie and is very confident. He doesn’t give up many second shots and won big games all season.”
Forward Colum McGauley was the Chiefs’ fourth round (75th overall) pick out of Wilcox, Sask. McGauley, whose older brother Tim plays for the Brandon Wheat Kings, scored 32 goals and 72 points with the Balgonie Prairie Storm Bantam AA of the SBAAHL. A fast player, McGauley stands at 5-foot-10 and 156 pounds.
“Colum is quick and strong on his feet. He has good stick skill and is strong on the draw. He shows that he wants to be a difference maker on the ice. He plays with speed, energy and power.”
With their fifth round (110th overall) pick, the Chiefs selected forward Noah Westgate out of Beaumont, Alberta. Westgate is a speedy 5-foot-8, 141-pound forward who scored 18 goals and 29 assists with the Leduc Oil Kings Bantam AAA last season.
“Noah is a dynamic, effortless skater. He has an extra gear and handles the puck well. His speed could be a game-changer at the next level.”
The Chiefs used a pair of seventh round picks to select defenseman Jevon Schwean (133rd overall) and forward Joel Krahenbil (142nd).
Schwean, a left-hand shot from Moosomin, Saskatchewan, stands at 5-foot-11 and 170 pounds. He played 31 games with the Melville Millionaires Bantam AA last season, scoring 5 goals and 9 assists while earning 94 penalty minutes.
“Jevon sees the ice well and is always moving the puck. He can play in all situations and has good instincts.”
Krahenbil, a 6-foot, 157-pound pivot out of Calgary, scored 18 goals and added 21 assists in 33 games with the Rocky Mountain Raiders Bantam AAA.
“Joel has a good work ethic and size. He competes every shift and is trusted by his teammates and coaches.”
The Chiefs looked to their own backyard for their eighth round (163rd overall) pick, selecting Mead, Washington’s Luke Gallagher. During the 2014-15 season, the 5-foot-7 defenseman scored three goals and 11 assists with the Edge School Bantam Prep of the CSSHL, the same team that produced Spokane’s 2014 first round pick, Jaret Anderson-Dolan.
“Luke is a smart player who makes good decisions and is poised with the puck. He does the little things and is patient but aggressive.”
The Chiefs made a trade with the Lethbridge Hurricanes to reacquire their ninth round pick (185th overall) and used it to select Cedric Chenier out of Winnipeg. A 5-10, 155-pound center, Chenier scored 23 goals and 36 assists with the Winnipeg Monarchs Bantam AAA.
“Cedric has great passing ability, he’s intelligent and he has the ability to play with elite players. His vision stands out.”
Another goaltender came off the board in the tenth round (207th overall) as the Chiefs picked 6’3” Mitchell Reidy out of Regina, Sask. Reidy played 17 games with the St. Albert Sabres Bantam AAA.
“Mitchell has the size and athletic ability to succeed in the WHL. He covers the net and posts well and has a lot of upside.”
The Chiefs closed out their 2015 draft selections with center Riley Johnson of Winnipeg. At 5-foot-8 and 120 pounds, Johnson scored eight goals and 16 assists for the Winnipeg Hawks AAA Bantam club.
“Riley is a good player who plays very hard. He has a good skill set and his speed shows in how he plays.”
CHIEFS DRAFT SELECTIONS
1st Round (1st Overall) – Ty Smith, D (Lloydminster, AB)
1st (9th) – Koby Morriseau, C (Grandview, MB)
2nd (31st) – Matthew Leduc, D (Richmond, BC)
2nd (38th) [acquired via trade from Red Deer] – Damon Zimmer, C (Camrose, AB)
3rd (53rd) – Donovan Buskey, G (North Vancouver, BC)
4th (75th) – Colum McGauley, C (Wilcox, SK)
5th (110th) [acquired via trade from Brandon] – Noah Westgate, C (Beaumont, AB)
7th (133rd) [acquired via trade from Saskatoon] – Jevon Schwean, D (Moosomin, SK)
7th (141st) – Joel Krahenbil, C (Calgary, AB)
8th (163rd) – Luke Gallagher, D (Mead, WA)
9th (185th) [acquired via trade from Lethbridge] – Cedric Chenier, C (Winnipeg, MB)
10th (207th) – Mitchell Reidy, G (Regina, SK)
11th (229th) – Riley Johnson, C (Winnipeg, MB)
Players eligible for the 2015 WHL Bantam Draft included 2000-born players who reside in the following provinces or states: Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Northwest Territories, Yukon, Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, 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.
Ticket packages for the 2015-16 Spokane Chiefs season begin under $100 and are on sale now! Visit the Chiefs’ Ticket Office at the Spokane Arena or call (509) 535-PUCK for more information.