Jayden Perron was the steal of the Western Hockey League Bantam Draft.
That is, if he ever plays in the Western Hockey League.
The 14-year-old star with the Winnipeg AAA City Champion Bantam 1AAA Winnipeg Warriors was the first Manitoban selected in the 2020 WHL 14-year-old Draft on Wednesday. Perron, who finished the COVID-19 Pandemic-shortened 2019-20 season with 46 goals and 104 points in 36 games, was taken in the second round (23rdoverall) by the Portland Winterhawks. Perron was the leading scorer in the aborted Bantam 1AAA playoffs with 19 goals and 27 points in 10 games.
Sadly, while Winnipeg AAA was able to complete its City Playoffs, the Warriors did not get a chance to play for the Provincial Title. Hockey Canada shut down the game due to the pandemic on March 11.
Many observers and scouts believed that the second-leading scorer in Bantam 1AAA would be selected in the first round, but going in the second didn’t bother Perron in the least.
“I think I was more concerned about where I went as opposed to when I went,” he said. “I’m proud of being taken 23rdand I’m happy to go to Portland.”
Perron’s coach, Tyler Riel had nothing but praise for the fast, skilled teenager.
“Jay’s skill level and hockey IQ are off the charts,” said Riel. “He has the ability to make his line mates better and he’s the only player that I’ve come across that had the rink buzzing when he was on the ice. It was incredible watching him make some of the plays he did.
“Everyone wanted to play with him. We didn’t really have lines but sometimes when I posted the line up before a game, the players that were beside 17 lit up. They knew they were in for a fun game. He’s a great kid with a bright future, I’m looking forward to following along his career.”
There were probably two reasons why Perron, an extremely skilled player, didn’t go earlier. (1) Although his older brother is 6-foot-1, he’s only 5-foot-7, 125 pounds and (2) he hasn’t decided if the Western Hockey League is the route he wants to take.
“I’m not going to make any decision about where I’m going to play until I get older,” said the 15-year-old Grade 10 student at Dakota Collegiate. “I’m still really interested in playing US College, so I’m going to wait before I make any decision about my future. US College is definitely an option for me.”
While Perron was the first Manitoban to be selected, he was certainly not the last. His Warriors teammate Lukas Hansen went 28thoverall to Saskatoon while the leading scorer in Bantam 1AAA, Brayden Dube of the Parkland Rangers (74 goals, 130 points in 36 games), was taken 29thoverall by the Seattle Thunderbirds.
In total, 33 Manitobans were selected in the draft — six from the Warriors (four of the first 10), five from The RINK, four from Parkland and three from the Monarchs (all in the first 11). Two goalies were selected — Donavan Bodnar from West St. Paul who plays for The RINK Bantam Prep team and Ty Hogue from Portage who plays for the Central Plains Capitals.
Round. Overall. Team. Player’s Name Pos. Team. Hometown
2. 23. Portland. Jayden Perron. C. Warriors. Winnipeg
2. 28. Saskatoon. Lukas Hansen. C. Warriors. Winnipeg
2. 29. Seattle. Brayden Dube. RW. Parkland. Roblin
2. 42. Swift Current. Rylan Gould. C. Monarchs. Headingley
2. 44 Swift Current. Grayson Burzynski. LD. Monarchs. Winnipeg
3. 55. Saskatoon. Tyler Parr. RW. The RINK. LaSalle
3. 60. Swift Current. Liam Saxberg. RD. Warriors. Winnipeg
4. 74. Regina. Ty Plaisier. LD. Southwest. Virden
5. 97. Portland. Carter Southern. RD. PV Hawks. Sanford
5. 99. Seattle. Reeve Sukut. RW. Warriors. Winnipeg
6. 127. Kamloops. Blake Jones. LD. Monarchs. Winnipeg
6. 132. Prince Albert. Scott Miner. LD. The RINK. Winnipeg
7. 133. Swift Current. Joey Lies. C. Norman. Flin Flon
7. 141. Portland. Donovan Bodnar. G. The RINK. West St. Paul
7. 145. Brandon. Hayden Chaloner. C. Sharks. Winnipeg
7. 148. Lethbridge. Aiden Ziprick. LD. Parkland. Russell
8. 158. Edmonton. Dawson Zeller. LW. Hawks. St. Andrews
8. 166. Calgary. Ethan Alsip. LD. Warriors. Winnipeg
8. 168. Winnipeg. Omen Harmacy. RD. Shattuck. Winnipeg
8. 172. Spokane. Carter Zalischuk. C. Parkland. Dauphin
9. 177. Brandon. Evan Groening. LW. The RINK. Niverville
9. 178. Moose Jaw. Job Peters. C. Eastman. Mitchell
9. 182. Red Deer. Ben Roulette. RW. Yellowhead. Rivers
9. 196. Edmonton. Hayden Wheddon. C. Interlake. Stonewall
9. 197. Everett. Carter Dittmer. RW. Brandon. Brandon
9. 198. Portland Aiden Sotas. C. Birtle. Yellowhead
10. 199. Swift Current. Brandon Funk. C. Winnipeg. Sharks
10. 211. Brandon. Thomas Stewart. RD. The RINK. Winnipeg
10. 212. Winnipeg. Foxx McColl. LD. Yellowhead. Elkhorn
10. 219. Everett. Simon Chase. LW. Warriors. Winnipeg
11. 228. Kelowna. Will Munro. LW. Parkland. Swan River
11. 234. Winnipeg. Ty Hogue. G. Central Plains. Portage