Richmond players among early picks in WHL Bantam Draft

Mathew Ward goes 14th overall to Swift Current and Henry Smith 34th to Medicine Hat

A pair of Richmond players are among the early picks in today’s Western Hockey League’s Bantam Draft.

The Swift Current Broncos selected forward Mathew Ward 14th overall. 

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The 5-foot-7 centre had a big season in the Canadian School Sport Hockey League — compiling 64 points, including 30 goals, in 30 games with the Delta Hockey Academy’s Bantam Prep Green Team. 

“Mathew is a really good player. He brings a lot of skill and is a gamer. He makes the players around him better. We are super excited. He is pretty dynamic player,” said Broncos head coach Dean Brockman.

“He certainly is all business and wants to play the game the right way.”

The Medicine Hat Tigers used their second round pick (34th overall) to take defenceman Henry Smith. The Seafair Minor product was a teammate of Ward’s and had a productive season on the DHA blue line with 30 points, including 11 goals.

Smith jumped all the way to the academy’s top Bantam Prep team after playing playing Bantam Varsity a year earlier where he helped DHA win the Richmond International on familiar ice.

Just prior to the draft heading into the lunchtime break, Seafair alumni Josh Mori was selected in the eighth round (168th overall) by the Portland Winterhawks. Mori, a 5-foot-9 dman, also played for the DHA Bantam Prep Green Team last season. He compiled 11 points in 21 games.

Rounding out the local contingent was Thomas Tien going in the 11th round to Moose Jaw. The 5-foot-6 forward played this past season for St. George's Bantam Prep Team, recording 64 points in 30 games, including 24 goals.

Tien and Mori were teammates a year earlier with the Western Canadian and B.C. champion Seafair Bantam A1 Islanders.

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