The Red Deer Rebels went close to home with their first round pick in the 2017 WHL Bantam Draft, selecting Calgary native Ethan Rowland 22nd overall.
Rowland played this season for the Calgary CNHA Northstar Sabres in the Alberta Bantam AAA Hockey League and put up 14 goals and 25 assists in 34 games.
At the Alberta Cup under 16 prospects camp on the weekend, he added three points in five games.
The five-foot-eight, 162-pound centre is really competitive and shows really good leadership according to Rebels assistant GM Shaun Sutter. Sutter added that he hopes Rowland can be a player that “drives the bus” for Red Deer down the road.
Kirt Hill, Senior Manager of Hockey Operations for the WHL added that Rowland has great speed, is reliable and a leader-type guy. Hill noted the forward’s improvement throughout the season as a major factor in the first round selection.
Rowland one of 11 Albertans selected in first round. One only of Albertan players who didn’t play in the Canadian School Sport Hockey League.
The Rebels traded their second round pick in the WHL Bantam Draft to the Saskatoon Blades in exchange for forward Mason McCarty.
The 20-year-old forward was originally a fourth round pick of the Rebels in the 2012 WHL Bantam Draft and will be entering his fourth full season in the league.
In 156 WHL games, McCarty has scored 47 goals and added 36 assists. The five-foot-10, 185-pound right winger played five games with the Rebels in 2013-14, then another nine in 2014 before spending the next three years with the Blades.
Red Deer selected forward Jordan Borysiuk of Mannville, Alta. with their third round pick of the WHL Bantam Draft. Borysiuk, a five-foot-10, 165-pound centre that played at the Pursuit of Excellence Hockey Academy last year and had 16 goals and 24 assists in 30 games.
He added seven points in five games in the CSSHL playoffs en route to a league championship. 10 of his teammates at POE on the Bantam Prep squad were selected in the first rounds of the draft.
The forward was also a AMBHL in 2015-16 with the Lloydminster Heat when he scored 27 goals in 25 games.
With the 78th pick in the WHL Bantam Draft, the Rebels picked Kyler Kovich of the Burnaby Winter Club. The five-foot-11, 160-pound product of Vancouver was the third forward Red Deer selected in the draft.
At 107, the Rebels picked left defenceman Jace Isley out of Grande Prairie. The five-foot-11, 177-pound defender played this season at the Okanagan Hockey Academy in Penticton. He put up had 15 points in 23 games this season.
Two Red Deer teammates also went in the middle rounds of the Bantam Draft, with Noah Danielson and Brett Meerman both getting selected by the Medicine Hat Tigers. They both played for the Red Deer Rebels Bantam AAA squad this season.
The Tigers picked Danielson with the 87th selection of the draft, then took Meerman a round later at 110. Danielson was the MVP of the AMBHL with 36 goals and 42 assists in 36 games. Meerman also had a standout year, with 33 goals and 67 points in 36 games alongside Danielson.
More to come.