By Carter Brooks
Photo by Bradley Jones
The Winnipeg ICE will be selecting first overall in the 2019 Western Hockey League Bantam Draft this May.
Thanks to some luck, the ICE won the Draft Lottery in Calgary with the second-best odds of the six teams included. Finishing the 2018-19 regular season second last, the former Kootenay ICE of Cranbrook, BC., beat out last-place Swift Current Broncos – who had actually traded their first round selection , improving their draft position to first (from second) for the May 2ndspectacle in Red Deer, AB.
The recently relocated ICE team has selected within the top-two of the bantam draft for the past four seasons (including 2019). Finishing this past season with a 13-45-10 record, Kootenay will bring a rebuilding team to Manitoba for the 2019-20 year. Last season saw 11 Manitobans suit up for the ICE, including 2018 second overall selection Carson Lambos of Winnipeg.
After being denied Exceptional Player Status by the WHL, consensus number one selection Matthew Savoie has determined to take the NCAA college hockey route, leaving the Winnipeg ICE with a decision to make on who the team will select first overall.
The ICE also hold the ninth-overall pick, acquired in a trade with Red Deer, while new provincial rival Brandon Wheat Kings will be selecting sixth, 12th, 16thand 23rdin May at the Sheraton.