Kennewick, WA – The Tri-City Americans today made forward Michael Rasmussen their first pick (7th overall) in the 2014 WHL Bantam Draft, held at the Deerfoot Inn in Calgary, Alberta. Overall, the Americans selected 10 players in this year’s draft.
Rasmussen, listed at 6’2 and 180 pounds, became the second straight forward taken by Tri-City in the first round after posting impressive numbers in his bantam year. Serving as an alternate captain of the Okanagan Hockey Academy’s Bantam Prep team, Rasmussen appeared in 59 games and totaled a team-high 41 goals and 87 points. The Surrey, British Columbia-native was also named an all-star at both the John Reid Memorial Tournament and Kamloops International Bantam Ice Hockey Tournament.
With no picks in the second round, Tri-City came back in Round 3 to take two more offensively talented forwards. First, with the 45th overall pick, the Americans selected Kyle Olson. A 5’7 135-pound center from Calgary, Alberta, Olson led his Calgary Bisons team in scoring, finishing with 39 goals and 80 points in 33 games. Olson’s offensive totals were good enough to finish 3rd in the Alberta Major Bantam Hockey League scoring race, while also picking up AMBHL MVP, Top Scorer and Top Forward awards.
Then, five spots later, the Americans claimed center Brett Leason of the Calgary Flames with the 50th overall pick. The 6’0 152-pound Calgary-native led his team in scoring as well, topping the Flames’ roster with 23 goals and 73 points, which won the AMBHL Challenger South division title. Leason earned the AMBHL’s Most Sportsmanship Award and was also named an AMBHL All-Star, where he played alongside fellow draftee, Kyle Olson.
Tri-City then used their remaining selections to take D-Conor Timlick (4 Rd., 70th overall), D-Landon Fuller (5 Rd., 90th overall), D-Erik Dahl (5 Rd., 94th overall), C-Riley Sawchuk (6 Rd., 116th overall), G-Dominik Vlaha (8 Rd., 160th overall), C-Korbyn Chabot (9 Rd., 182nd overall) and D-Bryce DeFazio (10 Rd., 204th) respectively.
Of the 10 players selected today, the Americans grabbed five forwards, four defensemen and one goaltender. Tri-City also selected three players from the United States (Dahl, Vlaha and DeFazio), which marks the sixth straight season that the club has drafted at least one U.S.-born player, three from British Columbia, two from Alberta, and one each from Saskatchewan and Manitoba.
The WHL Bantam Draft is the WHL’s talent identification process and serves as the first opportunity for WHL teams to add players to their respective 50 player lists. Eligible players for the Bantam Draft will be 1999-born players who reside 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.
Notes: The Americans’ first three picks all led their respective Bantam teams in scoring during the 2013-14 season…Kyle Olson’s Bisons met Brett Leason’s Flames team in the Division Finals of the AMBHL Playoffs, with the Flames advancing all the way to the Provincial Championship, before losing to Lloydminster…Brett Leason’s father, Darryl, was a Canadian Football League quarterback…Conor Timlick was named a 2013-14 Winnipeg AAA Bantam All-Star…Landon Fuller is the younger brother of Evan Fuller, who played in over 250 WHL games between Chilliwack, Moose Jaw and Prince George…Riley Sawchuk led the Saskatchewan Bantam AA Hockey League in Goals (42) and finished 2nd in the league’s scoring race (72 pts)…Korbyn Chabot led the South Central Alberta Hockey League in Goals (47) this season, while finishing second in the League’s scoring race (68 pts).
Tri-City Americans 2014 Bantam Draft Results:
1st Round (7th overall)
Michael Rasmussen (C)
6’2 180 lbs., Surrey, B.C.
Okanagan Hockey Academy (59-GP, 41-G, 46-A, 87-PTS, 123-PIM)
3rd round (45th overall)
Kyle Olson (C)
5’7 135 lbs., Calgary, AB
Calgary Bisons (33-GP, 39-G, 41-A, 80-PTS, 72-PIM)
3rd round (50th overall)
Brett Leason (C)
6’0 152 lbs., Calgary, AB
Calgary Flames (33-GP, 23-G, 50-A, 73-PTS, 8-PIM)
4th round (70th overall)
Conor Timlick (D)
6’3 166 lbs., Winnipeg, MB
Winnipeg Monarchs (31-GP, 7-G, 21-A, 28-PTS, 20-PIM)
5th round (90th overall)
Landon Fuller (D)
6’3 190 lbs., 100 Mile House, B.C.
Williams Lake Timberwolves (53-GP, 7-G, 24-A, 31-PTS, 138-PIM)
5th round (94th overall)
Erik Dahl (D)
6’1 173 lbs., Lakeville, MN
Shattuck-St. Mary’s (65-GP, 1-G, 33-A, 34-PTS, 14-PIM)
6th round (116th overall)
Riley Sawchuk (C)
5’5 139 lbs., Prince Albert, SK
Prince Albert Raiders (30-GP, 42-G, 30-A, 72-PTS, 64-PIM)
8th round (160th overall)
Dominik Vlaha (G)
6’2 159 lbs., North Bend, WA
San Jose Jr. Sharks (34-GP, 3.73-GAA, 0.891-SV%)
9th round (182nd overall)
Korbyn Chabot (C)
5’9 180 lbs., Cranbrook, B.C.
Cranbrook Hornets (35-GP, 52-G, 22-A, 74-PTS, 181-PIM)
10th round (204th overall)
Bryce DeFazio (D)
6’2 174 lbs., Colorado Springs, CO
Colorado Rampage (N/A)