Rockets make ten selections in the 2023 WHL Prospects Draft

The Kelowna Rockets selected a total of ten players in the 2023 WHL Prospects Draft that took place online today, including four defencemen and six forwards.

“We’re excited to add another group of young talented players to our prospect pool,” said Rockets general manager Bruce Hamilton following the draft. “Our head scout Terry McFaul, assistant general manager Curtis Hamilton and our team of scouts did a fantastic job of identifying players for our program. Terry himself scouted over 600 games this season.”

With their first pick of the day, the Rockets selected centre Eli Barrett four picks into the second round (No. 26) from St. George’s School U15 Prep of the CSSHL.

Barrett, born in 2008, posted 73 points (31G, 42A) and 10 penalty minutes through 27 games this season with the U15AA team. The 5’8″, 142-pound centre also added six points (2G, 4A) in three playoff games.

“The draft went really well, a little better than what we thought it would,” said McFaul. “We got very lucky with some of the kids that we got, some that we missed out on, but we scored big where we had to. Our scouts worked hard and it was a team effort, it went very well.”

Round 2, pick 26
PLAYER: Eli Barrett
BIRTHDATE: April 11, 2008

Terry’s take on Eli: I saw Eli play lots this year at St. George’s, in the first half of the year he scored a lot and played hard. Then he kind of had a down month, month and a half where he was fighting the puck and gripping his stick a little too tight doing too much. After the John Reid tournament he started on the upswing, by the BC Cup he was back where he was at the start of the year.

I told our assistant general manager Curtis Hamilton, I think this guy has a big window to get better. His upside is huge, he’s just a baby-faced kid that has lots of room to grow. He plays hard, he plays the right way and works in all areas of the ice. He’s not afraid, he plays tough on the puck, makes good passes and has the touch to score.

Season Team GP  G    PTS PIM
2022-23 St. George’s U15 Prep (CSSHL) 27 31 42 73 10

Round 3, pick 48
PLAYER: Kanjyu Gojsic
POSITION: Right Wing
HEIGHT: 5’11
BIRTHDATE: Jan. 11, 2008

Terry’s take on Kanjyu: We got Eli’s running mate, Kanjyu, out of St. George’s where they played together. We’re very excited to get him, our scouts really liked him because he brings a big physical presence all over the ice. He’s got a good shot and can skate well. His brother plays at Penticton which scared some teams off. But when we met him and his mom earlier this year we had a positive response, so when we saw he was still available at 48, we thought ‘You know what, let’s take a chance and sell him on the program,’ so hopefully we’re successful. 

Season Team GP  G    PTS PIM
2022-23 St. George’s U15 Prep (CSSHL) 26 19 27 46 58

Round 3, pick 50
PLAYER: Jacob Henderson
POSITION: Right Defence
HEIGHT: 5’11
BIRTHDATE: Mar. 13, 2008

Terry’s take on Jacob: Jacob’s dad, Burt, played for us in Tacoma and Kelowna. Because Burt coaches in the BCHL a lot of people were scared off, but when we talked to him he was all in. We really like the way he plays, he’s physical and tough like his dad. If he brings those elements here in the  WHL, he’ll be a good player who will play for a long time.

Season Team GP  G    PTS PIM
2022-23 Yale U15 Prep (CSSHL) 28 7 21 28 22

Round 4, pick 76
PLAYER: Owen Folstrom
HEIGHT: 5’9.75
BIRTHDATE: Mar. 21, 2008

Terry’s take on Owen: A very skilled player with good upside. He has good offensive skills, skates really well, has good vision and moves the puck. He’s not afraid of the corners or behind the net, he gets in there and works. 

Season Team GP  G    PTS PIM
2022-23 Calgary Flames U15 AAA (AEHL) 34 15 37 52 30

Round 5, pick 91
PLAYER: Dallin Antos
POSITION: Right Defence
HEIGHT: 5’10
BIRTHDATE: Jan. 2, 2008

Terry’s take on Dallin: He’s a big defenceman, who’s mobile and has good feet. He’s a big lanky kid who has a lot of growing to do yet, by the time he’s done growing he could be upwards of 6’3, 180 pounds.

Season Team GP  G    PTS PIM
2022-23 Red Deer Rebels U15 AAA (AEHL) 34 7 12 19 16

Round 6, pick 116
PLAYER: Gabriel O’Brien
HEIGHT: 6’1.5
BIRTHDATE: Apr. 3, 2008

Terry’s take on Gabriel: This was one of our favourite guys, we saw him quite a bit throughout the winter and we love the way he plays because he has a different presence. He loves the physicality part of the game, he’s in guys faces all of the time and is one of those players that you hate to play against but you love to have him on your team. He doesn’t talk or make a lot of racket, he goes about his business and is very effective with it. We hope he keeps that style of game as he comes here. 

Season Team GP  G    PTS PIM
2022-23 Edmonton KC U15 AAA Squires (AEHL) 34 23 30 53 86

Round 7, pick 136
PLAYER: Ben MacBeath
POSITION: Left Defence
HEIGHT: 5’11.5
BIRTHDATE: Mar. 4, 2008

Terry’s take on Ben: Ben is a very, very highly skilled defenceman. Good skater, good with the puck, makes good decisions and is very smart. He plays the game tough in all of the areas and doesn’t take a lot of penalties. In our opinion, he’s a first-round pick but the big thing with him is everyone was talking about him going the school route, which scared off some teams. Our scouts kept talking about him throughout the draft so again, we decided to take a chance and see. We talked to him on the phone following the selection and are excited to have him come see what our program is all about at camp. 

Season Team GP  G    PTS PIM
2022-23 Yale Hockey Academy U15 Prep (CSSHL) 28 7 36 43 12

Round 7, pick 145
PLAYER: Sullivan Fogolin
POSITION: Left Defence
BIRTHDATE: May 23, 2008
HOMETOWN: St. Albert, AB

Terry’s take on Sullivan: His grandpa, Lee, played with the Oilers. He’s a defensive defenceman, and unless you really know what you’re looking at you don’t really notice him because he’s not a flash-and-dash guy. He plays defence so well and doesn’t make mistakes, he doesn’t get beat, he gets the puck and moves it right away. He’s a very good solid defenceman, we’re very excited because it’s hard to find guys who have the mindset of looking after their own end first. 

Season Team GP  G    PTS PIM
2022-23 St. Albert U15 AAA Sabres (AEHL) 33 0 12 12 34

Round 9, pick 180
PLAYER: Boston  Schmidt
BIRTHDATE: Apr. 18, 2008
HOMETOWN: Pilot Butte, SK

Terry’s take on Boston: He’s a smaller energy guy who moves 100 miles an hour everywhere, he’s all over the ice. Not afraid, very aggressive on the puck and is always pursuing it. His offensive numbers are good and I’ll think they’ll get better as he gets bigger and stronger.

Season Team GP  G    PTS PIM
2022-23 Prairie Storm U15 AA (SAAHL) 26 14 14 28 57

Round 9, pick 180
PLAYER: Nolan Beddow
BIRTHDATE: Sept. 20, 2008

Terry’s take on Beddow: We saw him at the John Reid tournament earlier this year and were impressed. He was on a  very good Shattuck-St. Mary’s team, so he kind of took a back seat to their high front-line guys, but you could tell that he’s a very high-skilled guy that can skate and has good vision. We have to get some good-skill guys that have offensive potential to help carry us into the next wave and I think he’ll have a very good opportunity to do that here.  

Season Team GP  G    PTS PIM
2022-23 Shattuck-St. Mary’s Sabres 14U 54 16 24 40 18

In total, 232 players were selected by WHL member Clubs, including 128 forwards, 88 defencemen, and 16 goaltenders.

Alberta led all provincial branches with 93 players selected. A total of 50 players from B.C. were chosen, with another 44 players coming from Saskatchewan. Manitoba saw 38 players selected. Thursday’s proceedings saw seven players selected from the United States, following on the heels of 44 American-born players taken in the 2023 WHL U.S. Priority Draft on Wednesday.

Players eligible for the 2023 WHL Prospects Draft were 2008-born players residing in Alberta, B.C., Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Northwest Territories, Yukon, Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Kansas, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming.

CLICK HERE for a complete list of all players selected in the 2023 WHL Prospects Draft.

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