Two players with ties to Saskatchewan from The Rink Hockey Academy in Winnipeg were selected in the early stages of the SJHL draft. Keenan Allan went with the 11th pick of the second round to the Battlefords North Stars, while Riley Niven was selected in the fourth round by the Notre Dame Hounds.
The six-round, 72-selection draft took place over a span of two hours Friday morning in Nipawin, featuring 2003-born players either born or raised in Saskatchewan, making up all 72 selections.
Allan – who had previously been drafted 172nd overall in the Western Hockey League draft by the Moose Jaw Warriors – spent the past year with RHA in Winnipeg after playing the 2016-17 season with the Saskatchewan Valley Vipers of the SBAAHL. The 5-foot-9, 155-pound forward collected 12 goals and 29 points in 30 games for the Nationals this past season. As a player listed by the Warriors of the WHL, Allan may never dress for Notre Dame, but the potential is certainly there.
Niven, who played for the Estevan AA Bruins in 2016-17, made his way to Winnipeg to join the RHA Nationals in the Canadian Sport School Bantam Prep Hockey League. He recorded three goals, 20 points and 38 penalty minutes during the 2017-18 season. The 5-foot-7, 130-pound forward will look add some weight and size before making the transition to junior hockey down the road.
The 2018-19 SJHL season will open mid-September, and all 12 clubs will be fielding a team, including the Humboldt Broncos, who are just two months removed from the deadliest accident in Canada’s prairies since 1980. Humboldt made seven selections on Friday.