In keeping with the trend of the previous two seasons, the Kelowna Rockets opted for a smaller, smooth skating, skilled centre with their first choice in the 2013 Western Hockey League bantam draft.
With the 21st choice overall Thursday in Calgary, the Rockets selected Dillon Dube, from Cochrane, Alta., who played last season with the Notre Dame bantam AAA Hounds in Wilcox, Sask.
The 5-foot-8, 155-pound Dube scored 24 goals and 50 points in 26 games with the Hounds, who played up a level in the Saskatchewan midget league.
“I think he’s a dynamic player who has great skill,” said Rockets director of scouting Lorne Frey after making the selection. “He’s a tremendous skater and he’s going to be an exciting player to watch and that’s what you want—to put people in the building with exciting players.”
The Rockets chose skilled centres Rourke Chartier in 2011 and Nick Merkley in 2012.
With their second pick, 43rd overall, the Rockets took defenceman Cal Foote from the Colorado Thunderbirds (see sidebar) bantam program.
The 5-foot-9, 140-pound Foote is the son of former NHL defenceman Adam Foote.
Rockets assistant coach Dan Lambert, who played with the elder Foote in both the AHL and NHL, said Cal Foote has excellent pedigree and potential to become an elite junior defenceman.
“He plays like a young pro, he defends well and has a great first pass,” said Lambert. “You can tell his dad Adam did a great job coaching him and you can tell he’s been around pro hockey his whole life.”
In the third round, the Rockets took Jordan Borstmayer, a 5-foot-11, 155-pound forward from Melfort, Sask.
In round 4, the Rockets took Kole Lind, a forward from Shaunavon, Sask., who played last season in Swift Current.
The Rockets had two choices in the sixth round: Ryan Hall, a 6-foot-3 goaltender from Winnipeg, and Jeffrey Stewart, a forward from Semiamhoo.
In the eighth round, the Rockets selected defenceman Connor Bowey from Winnipeg, the younger brother of current Kelowna blue liner Madison Bowey.
The Rockets made two choices in the ninth round: Garrett Kuklica, a defenceman from Winnipeg, and Braydyn Chizen, a 6-foot-3 defenceman from St. Albert, Alta.
In other draft day news, the Rockets acquired Kelowna product Brennan Clark from the Victoria Royals for a 12th round draft pick in 2014.
If Clark makes the Rockets, then the Royals would receive a sixth round pick in 2015.
Clark, 17, played with the West Kelowna Warriors of the BCHL last season, scoring 17 goals and adding seven assists in 48 games.
As expected, the Vancouver Giants, with the first choice overall, selected Tyler Benson, a 5-foot-11, 185-pound centre from the South Side Athletic Club Southgate Lions in Edmonton. Benson had 146 points in 33 games last season.