Broncos select Williams to open WHL Bantam Draft

The Swift Current Broncos had to watch the opening 53 picks of the WHL Bantam Draft before selecting forward Finlay Williams in the third round.

After trading their first and second round picks away this season, the Broncos used the 54th overall pick to take the 5’10 forward from North Vancouver. Williams posted 32 points and 30 penalty minutes in 29 games with the Burnaby Winter Club Academy Bantam Prep team in the Canadian Sport School Hockey League.

“Fin was the captain of the Burnaby Winter Club prep team,” explained Jamie Porter, Director of Hockey Operations. “We like his skill. We like his skating. We think he’s of high character and leadership. We don’t think he’s done growing. I don’t want to be cruel to him, but we’ve had some comparisons of him to Glenn Gawdin.”

The Broncos may not have had many high picks, but they hope they found some late round steals as they selected six forwards, three defensemen, and one goaltender. They Finished with five Alberta skaters, two players from both British Columbia and Manitoba, and one from Saskatchewan.

The Broncos used the 114th pick, in the sixth round, to select Winnipeg’s Braedon Lewis. He posted 23 goals, 24 assists, and 28 penalty minutes in 28 games with the Southwest Cougars in the Winnipeg AAA Hockey League.

They picked up their first defenseman of the draft in the seventh round when they took Regina’s Blake Heward. The son of assistant coach Jamie Heward had 25 points and 26 penalty minutes in 26 games with the Northern Alberta Xtreme Bantam Prep.

The Broncos used their eighth round pick to select forward Brian Majic 175th overall. The Campbell River native had 12 points in 26 games with the Okanagan Hockey Academy Bantam Prep team.

The Broncos added two forwards in the ninth round. They took Vermillion’s Shea Dougan 188th overall. He posted 17 points and 52 penalty minutes in 36 games with the Lloydminster Bobcats.

They also took Medicine Hat’s Caleb Wyrostok 197th overall. He registered 24 points and 99 penalty minutes in 27 games with the SEAC Tigers.

The Broncos added defenseman Zack Davis in the 10th round, 211th overall. The 6’3.5’’ blueliner had 35 points and 71 penalty minutes in 32 games with the Winnipeg Sharks.

They also took right-wing Ashton McNelly in the 10th round, 216th overall. The Westlock, AB product had 26 points and 61 penalty minutes in 35 games with the Fort Saskatchewan Rangers.

They added defenseman Cameron Emigh with their third pick of the 10th round. The 5’8’’ defenseman had 48 points and 44 penalty minutes in 31 games with the Lakeland Panthers BAA.

The Broncos used their 11th round pick to select goaltender Ashton Billesberger. The Edmonton native had a 0.900 save percentage and a 4.85 goals against average in 18 games with the Pursuit of Excellence Hockey Academy Bantam Prep team. He posted 0.930 save percentage and 2.90 GAA in three games with Team Northeast at the Alberta Cup.