On Sunday, the Manitoba Junior Hockey League held its annual bantam draft. This year, however, was a touch different, as the selections came by way of virtual pick. Keeping the health of all those involved at the forefront, the league opted to follow the trend of hosting an online draft, due to the limitations put on by local governing health authorities during the COVID-19 pandemic.
In total, 71 players heard their names called, with five coming as conditional selections in the seventh and eighth rounds, following the failure of their selecting teams to submit one or two auto-protected players in the local catchment areas – a new order of business for the 2020-21 MJHL season.
The OCN Blizzard led the way with eight selections, followed closely by Dauphin, Portage and Selkirk, who each made seven picks. Steinbach, Swan River and Virden made six selections each, Winkler chose five players, while big traders Neepawa and Waywayseecappo chose four players each.
Forward Noah Driver was taken first by the Neepawa Natives, while OCN selected fellow Winnipegger Jayden Perron second. Selkirk wrapped up the top-three picks by choosing Stonewall’s Hayden Wheddon third overall. In all, 32 Winnipeggers were selected, including 11 in the first two rounds. Six players from Brandon were chosen, while three selections were spent on players from Killarney.
The full list of selected players follows below: