Americans Select Pavao 13th Overall, Add 12 Prospects in 2023 WHL Prospects Draft

KENNEWICK, WASH. – The Tri-City Americans selected forward Cruz Pavao with the 13th overall pick today in the 2023 WHL Prospects Draft. The Americans made 12 total selections in the draft including six forwards, four defensemen, and one goaltender.

“Having picked fairly high in our last three drafts, today’s selection at 13 was a bit of a return to normality and a reflection on the success of our team,” stated Assistant General Manager and Head Scout Roy Stasiuk. “It also meant more time and effort had to be expended to prepare and project prospects. Never did I think we had a legitimate chance at selecting Cruz. He’s an elite talent who will not only increase our overall speed and skill level, but he will quickly become a fan favorite in the Tri-Cities.”

Pavao, five-foot-ten and 183-pounds, is a native of Calgary, Alberta has played the past two seasons at Edge School. In the 2021-22 season, he played for the U15 Varsity team where he was named the league’s MVP after recording 50 points in 29 games.

This past season he played for Edge School’s U15 prep team and recorded 67 points (32 goals and 35 assists) through just 23 games played. His 67 points led his team and was fifth in the CSSHL U15 league. Pavao added five goals and six assists in four post-season games for Edge School.

“I was really excited to be selected by Tri-City,” said Pavao. “Playing in Western Hockey League is something I have always wanted. I am looking forward to joining the Americans. It’s cool that I’ll get to go play in the U.S. and that I know a couple guys on the team with Jackson and Cash.”

Pavao played four games for Edge School’s U18 team in 2022-23, alongside Tri-City’s top two picks from the 2022 WHL Prospects Draft in Jackson Smith and Cash Koch. Pavao had one goal and one assist at the U18 level.

The Americans used their following picks to select forward Carter Kingerski (round 2, pick 35), forward Jesse McKinnon (round 3, pick 55), forward Mason Mykichuk (round 3, pick 56), defenseman Brock Heidecker (round 5, pick 101), goaltender Ryler Gates (round 5, pick 107), defenseman Barret Berger (round 6, pick 123), defenseman David Byrne (round 7, pick 144), defenseman Kylen Martens (round 9, pick 189), forward Hayden Laing (round 9, pick 191), forward Ryan Gibbs (round 10, pick 211), defenseman Wyatt Kelman (round 11, pick 233).

View the full draft results here.

Players eligible for the 2023 WHL Prospects Draft were 2007-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.

Season Tickets for the 2023-24 season are now available. Contact a ticket representative at or learn more about season ticket benefits here.

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