View Full Version : American draft a first for league

05-17-2006, 01:39 AM
from reginapats.com
American draft a first for league

Greg Harder, The Leader-Post
Published: Tuesday, May 16, 2006

The Regina Pats are eying some cross-border bargains.

The shopping excursion begins today when the WHL holds its first-ever American player draft via conference call. Each of the league's 21 teams will have an opportunity to select from a pool of 65 players (age 14-17) which auditioned during a prospects camp last weekend in Anaheim.

Each team has been allocated an extra spot on its 50-player protected list to accommodate at least one selection. Any subsequent additions would require a club to make room on its existing list.

The Pats are slated to pick 14th, although their position could improve because some teams may opt out of the draft. The expansion Chilliwack Bruins have the No. 1 pick.

"I'd say there's a better than average chance that we will draft somebody," said Pats GM Brent Parker. "It just depends on what the teams in front of us do. If there's anything there for us we'll take a peek, but I don't think we'll draft someone just for the sake of drafting them either."

The prospects camp was held in partnership with the NHL's Anaheim Mighty Ducks, who made their practice facility available for workouts. Ducks GM Brian Burke is a co-owner of the new Chilliwack franchise.

Anaheim was an obvious locale for the camp based upon the increased number of players being harvested from the Golden State. There were more than a dozen Californians affiliated with WHL teams in 2005-06, including goaltender Joey Perricone of the Moose Jaw Warriors and forward Tim Kraus and defenceman Jonathan Blum of the league-champion Vancouver Giants.

"Any way you slice it, whether we pick or not, I think it really behooves us as a league to have a presence in (the U.S.)," Parker said. "There are a lot of hockey players down there. If you look at our league now, they have a presence and they're not just jersey fillers, they're guys who can play.

"I think we all saw the boom in hockey down there when Gretzky was there," he added. "I think there's a real possibility it's going to continue, some of it aided by what's going on in the NHL right now ... with the potential for an Anaheim-San Jose conference final."

It's a sign of the times that WHL teams are going that extra mile in search of players. With the league expanding to 22 teams when Edmonton joins the fold in 2007-08, some observers expect the current talent pool to be stretched to the limit.

That's part of the reason why Parker and director of scouting Todd Ripplinger have already planned a scouting trip for next season which will take them through less-travelled hockey markets in the southern U.S., including Arizona and California.

"We have to expand our horizons," the GM added. "If that means we have to find a way to get into the U.S. market, so be it. I think it's good for our league as a whole. The more of these kids we can get to our camps and get them exposed to our league, the better off we're going to be."

05-17-2006, 01:42 AM
from reginapats.com

Regina SK ---- Today the Regina Pats selected left wing/center Michael Juola in the special United States player draft. Juola, a 5’9” 165lb product of Lake Forest, California recorded 31 goals, 37 assists and 18 penalty minutes in 63 games with the Midget AAA California Wave. The special United States player draft consisted of players who attended the Western Hockey League’s United States prospects camp in Anaheim this past weekend.

“Curtis had the opportunity to see Michael play last week and felt that with his speed and hockey sense he would have a chance to play at this level. California is producing lots of hockey players just by the sheer number of kids playing and we intend to spend more time down there in the future”, commented Pats’ GM Brent Parker.

Note: Juola's birthdate is Feb. 27, 1989.

05-18-2006, 12:14 AM
from reginapats.com
Pats choose Juola

Greg Harder, The Leader-Post
Published: Wednesday, May 17, 2006

The Regina Pats dipped into uncharted waters to acquire Michael Juola of the California Wave.

Regina chose the 17-year-old goal-scoring forward with the 13th pick in the WHL's first-ever American player draft, which was conducted via conference call on Tuesday.

Juola, a native of Lake Forest, Calif., was among 65 players who took part in a WHL prospects camp last weekend in Anaheim. The Pats were represented at the camp by head coach Curtis Hunt, who liked what he saw from the 5-foot-9, 165-pounder.

Juola had 31 goals and 37 assists for 68 points in 63 games last season with the Wave, who won a midget AAA national championship with a 48-7-7 record.

"Curtis said he had pretty good hockey sense and good speed and handled the puck at high speed," said Pats GM Brent Parker. "We thought we'd take a shot at it. He's not the biggest guy but the way the game is going I think we all recognize there is room for those guys to play now."

The selections were made by order of finish in the 2005-06 regular season.

Regina was slated to pick 14th, but moved up one spot after the Brandon Wheat Kings opted out of the draft at No. 8. The Medicine Hat Tigers also passed on their selection (21st).

Each of the league's 21 teams were allocated an extra spot on their 50-player protected list to accommodate at least one selection. The Pats plan on bringing Juola into town for their summer fitness camp (June 2-4).

"We'll get him in, let him have a look at the city and give us a chance to see him," said Parker. "Then we'll go from there."

The expansion Chilliwack Chiefs used the No. 1 pick on centre Jonathan Parker, 14, of Solana Beach, Calif. With the 16th selection, the Moose Jaw Warriors drafted 16-year-old goalie Todd Mathews of Covina, Calif., who played midget with the Los Angeles Junior Kings last season. Warriors starting goalie Joey Perricone is from San Juan Capistrano, which is in the Los Angeles area.

The Swift Current Broncos also took a goaltender, selecting 15-year-old Eric Ferber of Scottsdale, Ariz., with the fifth pick in the draft.