While the Kelowna Rockets make their push for a second straight Western Hockey League title, player personnel director Lorne Frey is occupied with the same duties he is every year at playoff time—planning for the team’s future.
With the WHL’s annual bantam draft just three weeks away, Frey and his scouting staff will be making their final evaluations of 2001-born talent from across Western Canada.
This weekend, Frey will be in Regina for Saskatchewan’s U16 tournament, followed by stops at the B.C. and Alberta bantam showcases over the following two weekends.
“It’s a chance for us to get one last look, to see how these young players have developed over the course of the winter,” said Frey. “You have a pretty good idea of what you’re going to see, but at this age players can change some, so it’s nice to have a refresher before we head to the draft.”
Kelowna has the 19th choice overall in the opening round, but doesn’t hold a pick in the second round. Frey said that makes the third round vital for the Rockets who have an unprecedented five selections.
“We’re going to have to make some hay in the third round,” Frey said. “There will still be some good players out there, we’ll just have to make sure we come up with some good picks.
“The draft is so important to a team’s success, as usual it’s going to be a key for us to do well.”
The WHL bantam draft is set for Thursday, May 5 in Calgary.