The Red Deer Rebels traded out of the first round of the Western Hockey League Bantam Draft, but landed a goalie on the upswing.
Byron Fancy, of Claresholm, played the 2015-16 season with the Lethbridge Golden Hawks. The Golden Hawks won the Alberta Minor Bantam Hockey League title and a bronze medal at the Western Canadian Championship.
A goalie since his days playing atom hockey, Fancy said he believed his progress turned a corner this season.
“In the second half of the season I got a lot better and I had a great playoff run,” said Fancy, 15. “I started almost every game in playoffs and had a good run at Western Canada Championship.”
The 24th overall player taken in the draft, Fancy played 18 games during the regular season and finished with a 1.49 goals against average, a 0.908 save percentage and two shutouts.
But it really was the playoffs where Fancy found a second gear. The six-foot, 167 pounder started nine playoff games and had a 1.74 goals against average, a 0.921 save percentage and two shutouts.
“I felt confident and I developed a routine,” said Fancy. “I feel the pregame routine I developed before the game, it helped me get focused and mentally prepared for every game.”
Fancy watched the draft live on a computer with his family.
“I was really excited,” said Fancy. “We were all excited and we had a bit of a party.”
In a short conversation with Rebels staff, Fancy said the conversation was about June training camp and the excitement of his selection.
“Next year I want to stay consistent through the whole season,” said Fancy. “I don’t want to have any ups and downs and be focused for every game.”
He wasn’t the only Golden Hawk the Rebels took in the draft. In the third round, the Rebels went to the well again and chose Nicholas Draffin, a defenceman and teammate of Fancy.
“I was really excited about that,” said Fancy. “We’re good friends.”
Draffin had two goals and 26 assists in 36 games for the Golden Hawks this season. In playoffs, Draffin had a goal and eight assists.
At six-foot-two and weighing 192 pounds, Draffin turns 15 this August.