Hundreds of the best 2007-born hockey players in Western Canada and the United States are hoping to hear their names called in the 2022 WHL Prospects Draft Thursday.
The Medicine Hat Tigers hold the first-overall selection in the WHL Prospects Draft, which is set to begin at 10:00 a.m. MT Thursday. WHL Live will air free, live first-round coverage, with results also available through WHL.ca.
Players from across the four Western Canadian branches have had a full season to strut their stuff for scouts, with years worth of hard work set to be recognized by WHL Clubs in Thursday’s WHL Prospects Draft.
“It’s an exciting time of year, a busy time of year,” WHL Manager, Hockey Operations Taylor Green recently told the WHL Radio Show. “We are certainly excited about some of the talent that we’re going to be able to bring into our League.”
“It’s a deep year this year,” Green added. “Certainly at the high level of the Draft, our first-round prospects, we’re looking at some really high-end guys, but there’s certainly depth to be found throughout the Draft.”
As part of WHL.ca’s coverage of the event, we’re turning a spotlight toward some of the more exciting prospects hailing from each of the four Western Canadian branches.
The consensus number-one pick in the 2022 WHL Prospects Draft hails from Whitehorse, Yukon, which falls under BC Hockey’s jurisdiction. Forward Gavin McKenna was the lone player eligible for this year’s WHL Prospects Draft to play U18 hockey in 2021-22, leading the CSSHL in scoring for Rink Kelowna with 23 goals and 65 points in 35 games played.
“Gavin was granted access to play in that U18 league and put on a show. He’s a dynamic, skilled player that can finish around the net with ease and processes the game at an extremely high level,” Green commented.
Northern B.C. is also set to be represented by forward Cameron Schmidt of Prince George, who skated with Rink Kelowna’s U15 side this season compiling an eye-popping 25 goals in just 13 appearances. Arguably the fastest skater in the Draft, Schmidt could become the second Prince George product to be selected in the first round of the WHL Prospects Draft in as many years, joining forward Miguel Marques, who went 10th overall to Lethbridge in 2021.
Hockey Alberta’s leading light for the 2022 WHL Prospects Draft may well be Calgary defenceman Jackson Smith, who registered 38 points (15G-23A) with Edge School U15 in 2021-22, adding 13 more points in four playoff appearances before being named a First Team All-Star at the Alberta Cup last month.
“He’s a big defenceman, just under 6-foot-3 who can score. He’s physical, he’s a great skater, and makes a lot of plays in the offensive zone and in transition that I think will translate very well at the WHL level,” said Green.
Sherwood Park’s Braeden Cootes, meanwhile, enjoyed life on the West Coast this year. The forward scored 67 points for Yale Academy U15, including 29 goals in 30 CSSHL contests.
The province of Saskatchewan had 41 players selected in 2021, and Sask Hockey’s first pick in the 2022 WHL Prospects Draft might well be Macklin’s Cole Reschny, who led all CSSHL U15 players in points per game in 2021-22, registering 92 (40G-52A) with the Northern Alberta Xtreme.
“Cole’s an excellent two-way centreman who projects as a very good player in our League,” Green noted. “He’s dynamic, smart, and he’s very good with the puck.”
His teammate, defenceman Reese Hamilton is also highly touted ahead of Thursday’s Draft. The Whitewood product led all CSSHL defencemen in scoring with 54 points this past season and has drawn comparisons to former Seattle Thunderbirds blueliner Shea Theodore.
Manitoba Hockey has helped produce several names likey to be heard in the first round. Forward Cole Temple led the Winnipeg AAA League in points in 2021-22, scoring 58 times and adding 50 assists as a member of the Brandon U15 Wheat Kings. Temple’s father, Jeff, skated in the WHL in the 1990s with both his hometown Wheat Kings and the Medicine Hat Tigers.
Blueliner Peyton Kettles brings a 6-foot-3 frame into this year’s draft, tallying 35 points in 30 CSSHL games for the Rink Academy Winnipeg U15 squad.
The Tigers boast the first-overall selection in the 2022 WHL Prospects Draft, marking the first time in 23 years that Medicine Hat holds the number-one pick. The Tigers selected defenceman Jay Bouwmeester and forward Ryan Hollweg with back-to-back first-overall selections in 1998 and 1999.
The Tri-City Americans will select second, having utilized a second-overall pick on forward Jordan Gavin in 2021.
The Victoria Royals are poised to select third, the highest pick by the franchise since it landed on Vancouver Island 11 years ago.
The Vancouver Giants hold the most first-round selections in 2022 with three, picking at number seven, 21 and 22 in Round One. The Giants acquired first-round picks from both the Edmonton Oil Kings and Winnipeg ICE at the WHL Trade Deadline in January in transactions involving forward Justin Sourdif and defenceman Tanner Brown, respectively.
The first round of the 2022 WHL Prospects Draft, including a 30-minute pre-show, will be livestreamed FREE via WHL Live on CHL TV. All that is required is to register and login using a free account with CHL TV, no subscription or purchase necessary. The 2022 WHL Prospects Draft Pre-Show begins with co-hosts Chris Wahl and Taylor Rocca at 9:30 a.m. MT, with live draft coverage beginning at 10 a.m. MT.
The Medicine Hat Tigers hold the first-overall selection in the 2022 WHL Prospects Draft, as determined by the 2022 WHL Prospects Draft Lottery on April 21, 2022.
2022 WHL Prospects Draft – First Round Order of Selection
1) Medicine Hat Tigers
2) Tri-City Americans
3) Victoria Royals
4) Calgary Hitmen
5) Swift Current Broncos
6) Regina Pats
7) Vancouver Giants
8) Spokane Chiefs
9) Prince George Cougars
10) Prince Albert Raiders
11) Lethbridge Hurricanes
12) Brandon Wheat Kings
13) Saskatoon Blades
14) Moose Jaw Warriors
15) Seattle Thunderbirds (from Kelowna)
16) Medicine Hat Tigers (from Seattle)
17) Red Deer Rebels
18) Portland Winterhawks
19) Kamloops Blazers
20) Everett Silvertips
21) Vancouver Giants (from Edmonton)
22) Vancouver Giants (from Winnipeg)
The order of selection for the second round and all other rounds will be the inverse order of final 2021-22 WHL Regular Season standings. The complete order of selection for the 2022 WHL Prospects Draft can be found at WHL.ca/draft.
Players eligible for the 2022 WHL Prospects Draft are 2007-born players who reside in 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 2022 WHL Prospects Draft will remain eligible to be listed by WHL Clubs at any time thereafter.