The Brandon Wheat Kings have acquired 17-year-old forward Ben Thornton from the Spokane Chiefs in exchange for a second round selection in upcoming 2022 WHL Bantam Draft.
The Abbotsford, BC product was chosen by the Chiefs 15th overall in 2019 and suited up in 10 games for Spokane last season. He spent three years in the Canadian Sport School Hockey League with Yale Hockey Academy from 2017-20, putting up 33 goals and 98 points in 92 games.
“I’m super pumped how things turned out, that I landed in Brandon,” Thornton said in a release from the Wheat Kings. “I’m super happy that (Chris Moulton) wanted me. My first day was awesome. I met all the guys and everyone was super nice, the dressing room is unreal, all the staff and coaches are unreal too. I’m excited to be here.”
Thornton’s arrival came right in time for a highly-productive, yet young Wheat Kings offence. In his first preseason game with the club, the 6-foot-1, 175-pound forward scored a power play goal in his first bit of action before the team begins the 2021-22 season at home this coming Friday.
“It’s good to see,” Thornton said of the team’s youth. “Now we have four first rounders from ‘04. I think it’s going to be really good for the future for us. I can’t wait to see how we all develop and get to know each other.”
In dealing for a guy that had requested a trade, Wheaties’ GM Doug Gasper certainly knew that he would be taking a gamble on Thornton, but with his early success, those dividends are seemingly already paying off.
“He’s a big, strong kid, just filling out and growing into his body,” Gasper said in the team-issued release. “He skates well, competes hard, has a lot of upside skill-wise. We just think any time that we can add a young skilled player into your organization, we’re certainly going to look at it and do everything we can to get him in.”