Western Elite Hockey Prospects Bantam Preview

The 2017-2018 regular season will begin in leagues across Western Canada with the CSSHL and the AMBHL getting underway.  The SBAAHL will get underway the weekend after while the Winnipeg AAA league will be a weekend after that as well as the PCAHA.

Bantam Hockey continues to shift to more of a prep and varsity theme as players continue to move to the CSSHL from their club teams.  The brunt of the impact has been felt in the PCAHA with CSSHL teams in Delta, Yale, Burnaby Winter Club, Pacific Coast while varsity teams exist in West Vancouver and a pretty powerful squad in St. Georges.  Another area which has suffered a big effect has been the Edmonton/St. Albert area and several other pockets in Northern Alberta as the Northern Alberta Extreme club have stormed on to the scene this year along with OHA Edmonton who return for a 2nd season.  Equally effected is the Manitoba/Winnipeg area and the Winnipeg AAA league as the Rink Hockey Academy have the majority of the top prospects from the province.  Areas in the Okanagan and the OMAHA league are feeling the pinch as well as their top player – Logan Stankoven is on Yale along with several other top Kamloops and area prospects while Kelowna/Vernon players are attending OHA Penticton and the POE programs.  Areas not as effected are the Calgary area along with Saskatoon and the SBAAHL although several players have left for the CSSHL from the SBAAHL still.

With that, the majority of the top teams are CSSHL teams which have basically become mini all-star teams.  It has become extremely difficult for “club teams” to compete with the CSSHL teams but some southern Alberta teams haven’t been effected as much and can contend in major tournaments.

Here is a preview of what to expect this year.

  1. Yale Hockey Academy Prep – Yale enter the year as our #1 ranked team in Western Canada. They are coming off a 4th place finish in the 9 team CSSHL Prep league last year with a record of 21-9-0 before bowing out in the playoffs.  Yale will return this years captain – Jake Chiasson who is coming off a strong rookie bantam season where he 10-9-19 in 27 games and defenseman Graham Sward who had 2-7-9 in 30 games.  This years squad have added perhaps the favorite to lead the CSSHL in scoring in 17-18 in Logan Stankoven from Kamloops along with Kobe Verbicky from the Victoria area.  Look for Parker Bell and Ashton Taylor to have strong seasons as well. Joining Sward on defense is big Nolan Bentham from Victoria, Devin Benson from Vancouver Island and Tyson Galloway from Kamloops.  In goal, Liam Vanderkooi enters the season as one of Western Canada’s top goalies and provides the team with a strong back-bone!  All told, Yale have 8 players ranked in the Western Elite Hockey Prospects Top 100 rankings to begin the season.

Kingpin – Logan Stankoven.  Look for Logan to be at or near the top of the CSSHL scoring race and put up major points.

Future Watch – Look for 2004’s F – Ben Thornton, D – Grayden Siepmann and Brayden Schuurman who are all from Abbotsford to make regular contributions.

Synopsis – Yale Should finish at or near the top in most Western Canada major tournaments and in the CSSHL.

  1. Northern Alberta Extreme Prep – NAX are a new team in the CSSHL this season but similar to how Rink Hockey Academy faired last year with a 23-5-2 record in their inaugural season, we can expect much of the same of NAX this year. There is lots to like about the team this year in all areas led by several high scoring Northern Alberta talents who had terrific first year bantam seasons.  Dylan Guenther, who put up 34 goals last season with Edmonton KC along with 2004 phenom Matthew Savoie lead the way.  Savoie is currently our #1 overall ranked 2004 born prospect and if were in this years draft would challenge for the #1 overall spot, that is how good he is.  Joining those two talented forwards are Brett Hyland, Nicolas Degraves and big Zack Ostapchuk along with several other good two-way forwards.  If there is a minor concern with this power house team it would be the defense core after 6’2 205lb Marc Lajoie, the core is pretty young and fairly small.  Although Blake Heward from Regina and Wyatt Romanchuk from Fort McMurray could emerge as high end players.  Lochlan Gordon gives NAX a strong tender to erase any possible short comings the defense may experience in the early going while they get their feet wet.  NAX have 6 players ranked within the Western Elite Hockey Prospects top three rounds plus Savoie who is the #1 overall ranked 2004 born player.

Kingpin – Matthew Savoie.  Everyone will be watching closely what this 2004 born phenom can do.

Future Watch – After Savoie, who is an after thought as a 2004 born, look for talented Sherwood Park F – Ben Hemmerling to contribute on the offensive side.  A couple of 04 born Dmen in Nolan Kaziel and Cale Ashcroft are good puck movers but very small.

Synopsis – Like Yale, NAX should be a favorite in most tournaments and finish near the top of the CSSHL standings.

  1. Rink Hockey Academy – RHA stormed onto the CSSHL scene last year with a 23-5-2 record and finishing 3rd in the league standings and were a major threat in each tournament they entered. From that team, they will return just one player but that one player is the #1 ranked defenseman for the 2018 WHL Bantam Draft in Carson Lambos.  Lambos was likely the top defenseman as a first year bantam last year and was near the top of the scoring race for CSSHL dmen with 15-23-38 in 30 games.  Big things will be expected from the captain this year!  Joining Lambos is puck-moving rearguard Hudson Thornton to give RHA a great core to build around.  Impressing us in our first viewing of the team from a tournament in Minnesota last weekend was big Tayem Gislason as well.  The scoring looks like it will be a committee approach with high scoring Eric Alarie and Skyler Bruce to lead the way.  Alarie led the Winnipeg AAA league in scoring with 34-56-90 while Bruce lead in goals with 45.  However, the most impressive performance from last weekends tournament came from Owen Weihs.  Weighs is no slouch himself as he put up over 2 PPG last season.   Look for Keenan Allan from the Saskatoon area, Noah Serdachny from Edmonton, Michael Svenson, Matthew Wisener and Garrett Zasitko all from Winnipeg to give RHA some big time depth.  In goal, like the two teams above, RHA will have one of Western Canada’s best in 6’3 Tyler Brennan to carry the mail.  RHA have 7 players ranked within the top three rounds for the 2018 WHL Bantam Draft to start the season.

Kingpin – Carson Lambos.  Western Canada’s top ranked defenseman entering the season plays in all situations.

Future Watch – RHA have decided to not have any 2004 born prospects on the roster but Hudson Thornton, Cole Assaily and Mike Svenson all have birthday’s after October and we have to remember that while evaluating them as they are close to being 04’s.

  1. OHA Edmonton – OHA Edmonton return for their 2nd season in the CSSHL Prep Division after putting up a respectable 15-12-3 record in their 1st year of existence. This years team will return 2 of the 3 first year players from last year with Sean Tschigerl leading the way offensively after coming off a 13-18-31 in 30 games as a first year.  Tschigerl is one of the top ranked players in western Canada currently and will be joined up front by several players near the 6’0 mark who can put up points as well with the likes of Josh Hoekstra, Josh Medernach, Colton Dach, Tyson Laventure, Evan Waldie and returnee Jonah Bevington.  The defense core could be the strongest in Western Canada as a whole with high ranked Corson Ceulemans leading the way and joined by Kyle Masters, big 6’4 Jeremy Hancock from the Melfort area of Saskatchewan and offensive dman Olen Zellweger from Fort Saskatchewan to highlight a few.  6’1 Drew Sim from from Camrose had a fantastic rookie bantam season with a 2.30 GAA in the AMBHL and is highly ranked.  OHA Edmonton not only have several high end first round type players but we currently have 7 players ranked within our 100 to open the season!

Kingpin – Sean Tschigerl.  Has CSSHL experience and had a big season.  Good player, leader and all situations type for OHA.

Future Watch – There are a trio of 2004 born players on the roster but we don’t see them breaking into the top 6 forwards or top 4 defenseman.  Although, D – Keaton Dowhaniuk has the potential after getting used to the league of becoming a top four defenseman.

  1. Airdrie Xtreme – The cream of the crop of the non-CSSHL teams entering the season. Airdrie are coming off a .500 season led by a large group of 2003 born first year players.  From that squad, they will return 2 of their top 3 scorers from last year, a top defenseman and their top goalie who all had strong seasons.  Returning forwards, Craig Armstrong, Ty Mueller, Shaw Cathcart and Ethan Tinevez will be joined by high ranked Tristen Zandee who comes over from Rocky Mountain.  Ty Mueller had 18-18-36 in 34 games last year while Armstrong had 14-15-29 in 36 games and are joined by Zandee who had 18-19-37 with Rocky Mountain to give Airdrie some high end offensive talents.  Returning defenseman Keagan Slaney (2-11-13, 40 PIM) is joined by fellow returnee Tegan Skehar (1-7-8) and big 6’1 Jacob Srigley.  Nathan Airey is a high ranked goalie in Western Canada and returns after a nice season where he posted a 3.19 GAA, facing nearly 28 shots-per-game.

Kingpin – Mueller, Zandee, Armstrong.  Should all finish in the top 10 in league scoring and carry the leagues top offensive attack and be major tournament contributors.

Future Watch – 2004 born prospects Josh Davies up front and defenseman Jaren Brinson are talented players who should fit in right away.

  1. Delta Hockey Academy Green – Delta Hockey Academy Prep are coming off a CSSHL Championship season but won’t be returning anyone from that squad. This season, Delta Hockey Academy Prep will have a pair of teams in the top division and Delta Green look to have put together a team to be a major contender to give Delta another chance to be a major team once again.  This year’s team is strong but not spectacular in all areas headed by high end defenseman from the Edmonton area in Matt Smith and defenseman Ethan Samson who we both feel are two key cogs for the success of the team this year.  Delta Green have a strong defense core with good size as all but Spencer Shugrue are 5’9 or over.  The offensive depth is there with the likes of Sammy May, Holden Cardinal, Carson Latimer, Quinn Messer, Kai Daniells and Carson Merriman who are all PPG or better type players.  Goaltending is a question for the team entering the season and this is an area that we feel may keep them from finishing higher in the standings.  Delta Green have overall elite talent with 6 players cracking our top three rounds for the bantam draft to enter the season.

Kingpin – Matt Smith.  Came over from OHA Edmonton and has CSSHL experience and should lead a strong d-core for Delta Green.

Future Watch – Delta don’t have any 2004 born players on the roster, so lets look at some late birthday’s like November born 5’1 Carson Merriman and September birthday Holden Blace to see how they progress.

  1. BWC Academy – Another new CSSHL for the 2017-2018 season look to be a major force in Western Canada tournaments in the CSSHL this season. Although not as deep as the teams above, they still have enough key components to have a well above .500 season.  Big 6’1 Chase Sandhu comes over from Langley and should lead the offensive attack along with NSWC transfer Fin Williams.  Both Sandhu and Williams are ranked high in the rankings to enter the season.  Others who should make an impact are Caedan Bankier, Adam Grenier, Matthew Seminoff and Keean Fisk which give the team a couple very capable scoring lines.  Defensively, big Elias Carmichael will need a big season as will Marcus Taylor as the d-core is fairly raw still.  Thomas Milic and Mason Dunsford are two very capable goalies who are both highly thought of by our scouting staff.  BWC elite talent is evident with 5 players cracking the top two rounds of our currently bantam draft rankings.

Kingpin – Chase Sandhu.  Chase should have a big offensive season and be a leader on the team.

Future Watch – A pair of 2004 born forwards in Maxim Borovinskiy and Brandon Lisowsky are talented players who could push their way into the top 6 forwards very soon.  Eshan Barha is the lone 04 defenseman but likely a major contributor.

  1. George’s Hockey Academy Varsity – St. Georges are part of the Varsity division but it could be argued that this particular team is strong than the majority of the teams in Prep division and certainly a team to be reckoned with at major western Canada hockey tournaments. St. Georges have played a pair of games already this season against the young 2004 born St. George team and clobbered them to a tune of 31-2 in a pair of wins.  St. Georges are led by one of the top offensive talents in Western Canada in Trevor Wong.  Wong, from the BWC program has 5-10-15 in his first two games and should absolutely tear apart the varsity division and be a major scorer in all tournaments.  His BWC 16-17 teammate David Wang is another high scoring forward to go along with elite Dylan Fader and high end 2004 born NSWC transfer Connor Levis.  The defense is also very strong and capable with the likes of Oliver Gabrielson, Luke Rybinski, Kayden Sadhra-Kang and strong 04 William Yee.  A bit of a concern of ours which keep BWC down a peg is the goaltending as both are a bit on the small side but will look to prove the nay-sayers wrong I’m sure.  St. Georges have three players ranked within the top 100 for the WHL Bantam Draft to enter the season.

Kingpin – Trevor Wong.  One of the top offensive players in Western Canada should put up some huge points in the Varsity division and big tournament outputs.

Future Watch – 2004 born players F – Connor Levis and D – William Yee are both key players at their positions and will be looked upon to be major contributors and should excel as rookies.

Other Top Western Canada Teams

  1. Delta Hockey Academy White (CSSHL)
  2. Calgary Bisons (AMBHL)
  3. Edmonton CAC (AMBHL
  4. Notre Dame Hounds (CSSHL)


Western Canada Top 10 – 2003 Born Prospects

1 Carson Lambos D Rink Hockey Academy CSSHL 5’11.5 180 1/14/2003
2 Logan Stankoven F Yale Hockey Academy CSSHL 5’6 150 2/26/2003
3 Sean Tschigerl F OHA Edmonton Prep CSSHL 5’10 165 4/11/2003
4 Eric Alarie RW Rink Hockey Academy CSSHL 6’1 177 1/27/2003
5 Zack Stringer F Lethbridge Hurricanes AMHL 6’0 150 4/10/2003
6 Cole Sillinger F OHA Penticton CSSHL 5’9 154 5/16/2003
7 Trevor Wong F St. Georges Academy CSSHL 5’8 135 5/4/2003
8 Dylan Guenther F NAX Academy CSSHL 5’11 155 4/10/2003
9 Corson Ceulemans RD OHA Edmonton Prep CSSHL 6’0 170 5/5/2003
10 Matt Smith LD Delta Hockey Academy Green CSSHL 5’11 140 1/21/2003

Western Canada Top 10 – 2004 Born Prospects

1 Matthew Savoie F NAX Academy CSSHL 5’8 150 1/1/2004
2 Bowden Singleton F Calgary Bisons AMBHL 5’3 110 5/15/2004
3 Tyson Zimmer F TBD WPG B2     2004
4 Jordan Gustafson F Fort Saskatchewan Rangers AMBHL     2004
5 Brayden Schuurman F Yale Hockey Academy CSSHL 5’4 131 2/22/2004
6 Denton Mateychuk D Eastman Selects WPG B1     2004
7 Billal Noori F Edmonton CAC AMBHL     2004
8 Aidan Hyra D Winnipeg WPG AA     2004
9 Hayden Smith F GPAC Storm AMBHL 5’4 125 2004
10 Brandon Lisowsky F BWC Academy CSSHL 5’6 143 4/13/2004