Forward Ben Thornton Headlines Chiefs' 2019 Draft Class
Red Deer, Alta. - The Spokane Chiefs added to their prospect pool on Thursday in Red Deer, Alberta, picking 11 players in the 2019 WHL Bantam Draft. This year's class - consisting of 2004-born players - is headlined by forward Ben Thornton out of Yale Hockey Academy Bantam Prep, who was selected with the 15th overall pick.
"Ben does a lot of good things," said Chiefs' Assistant General Manager Chris Moulton. "He's a 200-foot player that contributes offensively. He's got good size and huge character."
Standing 6-foot-2 and 152 pounds, Thornton adds size and scoring ability up front. The Abbotsford, B.C. native averaged 1.5 points per game last season, totaling 13 goals and 32 assists in 30 games with a Yale squad that went on to win the CSSHL bantam championship.
"For us it's about being a complete player," added Moulton. "Ben is a guy we coveted and we're super happy."
The Chiefs are no strangers to Yale Hockey Academy players, having used their first-round selection in last year's draft on Yale product Graham Sward. Sward was named a BCMML First-Team All-Star with the Fraser Valley Thunderbirds during the 2018-19 campaign.
The Chiefs continued their draft class with a run of three-straight defensemen in the third, fourth and fifth rounds, picking Logan Cunningham of Yellowknife, N.W.T., Garrett Brown of San Jose, Calif. and Avery Trotter of Olds, Alta.
They dipped into the Manitoba forward ranks in the sixth and seventh rounds, taking Michael Cicek out of Winnipeg and Carson Buydens from Gladstone.
Spokane added defenseman Dayton Craik (Brentwood Bay, B.C.) and forward Matthew Langston (Sherwood Park, Alta.) with back-to-back picks in the eighth round before grabbing their only goaltender of the 2019 class in Southlake, Texas native Paxton Geisel. They closed out the draft with a pair of forwards in the 11th and 12th rounds: Cam Smith of Victoria, B.C.) and Ridge Dawson of Kelowna, B.C.
In all, the Chiefs selected six forwards, four defensemen and one goalie. By home province/state, British Columbia (4) led the way, followed by Alberta (2), Manitoba (2), Northwest Territories (1), California (1) and Texas (1).
Players selected in this year's bantam draft will be eligible to play for the Chiefs full-time in the 2020-21 season.
Spokane Chiefs' 2019 WHL Bantam Draft Class
1st Round (15th Overall) - Ben Thornton
Hometown: Abbotsford, BC
Measurables: 6'2$B!m(B, 152 lbs, shoots left
2018-19: Yale Hockey Academy Bantam Prep (CSSHL)
Stats: 13 goals, 32 assists, 45 points, 28 PIM in 30 GP
Scouting Report: (see above)
3rd Round (59th Overall) - Logan Cunningham
Hometown: Yellowknife, NT
Measurables: 6'0$B!m(B, 158 lbs, shoots left
2018-19: Yukon Rivermen
Scouting Report: "Logan is a very steady defenseman who we feel has a lot of upside."
4th Round (85th Overall) - Garrett Brown
Hometown: San Jose, CA
Measurables: 5'7$B!m(B, 133 lbs, shoots right
2018-19: San Jose Junior Sharks (T1EBHL)
Stats: 14 goals, 20 assists, 34 points, 70 PIM in 42 GP
Scouting Report: "Always makes good, quick decisions and keeps the puck moving. A mature player who defends well. Garrett is a leader."
5th Round (103rd Overall) - Avery Trotter
Hometown: Olds, AB
Measurables: 6'1$B!m(B, 163 lbs, shoots left
2018-19: Red Deer Rebels (AMBHL)
Stats: 5 goals, 11 assists, 16 points, 14 PIM in 32 GP
Scouting Report: "A solid, steady defender who is a good skater and has very good size. Avery has a strong, heavy shot. His skating ability is effective both defensively and on the rush."
6th Round (125th Overall) - Michael Cicek
Hometown: Winnipeg, MB
Measurables: 5'9$B!m(B, 160 lbs, shoots right
2018-19: Winnipeg Monarchs (WBD1)
Stats: 25 goals, 19 assists, 44 points, 32 PIM in 31 GP
Scouting Report: "A creative forward with a high level of skill. Michael pays attention details and is effective in all situations. He competes."
7th Round (147th Overall) - Carson Buydens
Hometown: Gladstone, MB
Measurables: 5'7$B!m(B, 144 lbs, shoots right
2018-19: Central Plains Capitals (WBD1)
Stats: 25 goals, 21 assists, 46 points, 32 PIM in 34 GP
Scouting Report: "A good 200-foot player who competes, wins battles and makes his teammates better. He is a well-rounded player with a nice set of skills."
8th Round (171st Overall) - Dayton Craik
Hometown: Brentwood Bay, BC
Measurables: 6'0$B!m(B, 165 lbs, shoots left
2018-19: Shawnigan Lake School (CSSHL)
Stats: 3 goals, 11 assists, 14 points, 14 PIM in 33 GP
Scouting Report: "An on-ice leader who plays hard. Has an offensive skill set and will join the rush. Has a good shot from the blue line and will make a good first pass."
8th Round (172nd Overall) - Matthew Langdon
Hometown: Sherwood Park, AB
Measurables: 5'10$B!m(B, 145 lbs, shoots right
2018-19: Sherwood Park Flyers (AMBHL)
Stats: 16 goals, 8 assists, 24 points, 28 PIM in 28 GP
Scouting Report: "Matthew has good speed and a good skating stride. He brings energy and will contribute offensively by going to the tough areas of the ice."
9th Round (191st Overall) - Paxton Geisel
Hometown: Southlake, TX
Measurables: 6'0$B!m(B, 175 lbs
2018-19: Dallas Junior Stars (T1EBHL)
Stats: 3.20 GAA, 0.884 SV%
Scouting Report: "Paxton is a big-bodied goalie who tracks the puck well. He competes to make saves and has lots of upside."
11th Round (235th Overall) - Cam Smith
Hometown: Victoria, BC
Measurables: 6'1$B!m(B, 180 lbs, shoots left
2018-19: Victoria RC Kings Bantam T1
Scouting Report: "Cam is a big, strong winger who likes to shoot the puck and play an aggressive, physical game."
12th Round (257th Overall) - Ridge Dawson
Hometown: Kelowna, BC
Measurables: 5'6", 120 lbs, shoots left
2018-19: Okanagan Hockey Academy (CSSHL)
Stats: 14 goals, 15 assists, 29 points, 20 PIM in 29 GP
Scouting Report: "Ridge is a smart player who works hard every shift. He goes to the tough areas of the ice."
Spokane Chiefs' 2019 WHL Bantam Draft Results
1st Round (15th Overall) - Ben Thornton, F
3rd (59) - Logan Cunningham, D
4th (85) [from Saskatoon] - Garrett Brown, D
5th (103) - Avery Trotter, D
6th (125) - Michael Cicek, F
7th (147) - Carson Buydens, F
8th (171) [from Lethbridge] - Dayton Craik, D
8th (172) [from Edmonton] - Matthew Langdon, F
9th (191) - Paxton Geisel, G
11th (235) - Cam Smith, F
12th (257) - Ridge Dawson, F
Players eligible for the 2019 WHL Bantam Draft included 2004-born players who reside in the following provinces or states: Alberta, British Columbia, 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.
Players not selected in the Bantam Draft are then eligible to be listed by WHL clubs, with many being added to WHL Club Protected Player Lists as spots become available.
Ticket packages for the 2019-20 season are on sale now and start as low as $80! Learn more at spokanechiefs.com or at the Chiefs' Ticket Office at Spokane Arena during regular business office hours, in-person or over the phone at 509-535-PUCK.
• Discuss this story on the Western Hockey League message board...
Western Hockey League Stories from May 2, 2019
- 2019 Rogers WHL Championship Series Begins Friday in Prince Albert - WHL
- 2019 Bantam Draft Review - Saskatoon Blades
- Americans Take 10 Skaters in 2019 WHL Bantam Draft - Tri-City Americans
- Royals Select Nine Players at 2019 WHL Bantam Draft - Victoria Royals
- Kelowna Rockets Statement Regarding Lassi Thomson - Kelowna Rockets
- Cougars Select 10 Players in 2019 WHL Bantam Draft - Prince George Cougars
- Rebels Move up to Pick Mayo in Bantam Draft, Select Another Two-Way D-Man in Second Round - Red Deer Rebels
- Winnipeg ICE Make Nine Selections in the 2019 WHL Bantam Draft - Winnipeg Ice
- Kelowna Rockets Load up with Trades and Picks at 2019 WHL Bantam Draft - Kelowna Rockets
- Vancouver Giants 2019 WHL Bantam Draft Recap - Vancouver Giants
- Broncos Draft 10 Players and Make One Trade on WHL Bantam Draft Day - Swift Current Broncos
- Former Wheat Kings Named to Manitoba Hockey Hall of Fame - Brandon Wheat Kings
- McCrimmon Named Knights General Manager - Brandon Wheat Kings
- T-Birds Make Two First Round Picks at Bantam Draft - Seattle Thunderbirds
- Oil Kings Select Nine Players in 2019 WHL Bantam Draft - Edmonton Oil Kings
- WHL Completes 2019 WHL Bantam Draft in Red Deer - WHL
- 33 Manitobans Selected at 2019 WHL Bantam Draft - Brandon Wheat Kings
- Hurricanes Finish Bantam Draft with Nine Selections - Lethbridge Hurricanes
- Raiders Select 12 Players in 2019 WHL Bantam Draft - Prince Albert Raiders
- Hitmen Make 10 Picks in the 2019 WHL Bantam Draft - Calgary Hitmen
- Forward Ben Thornton Headlines Chiefs' 2019 Draft Class - Spokane Chiefs
- Tigers Select 11 Players in WHL Bantam Draft - Medicine Hat Tigers
- Cougars Acquire Fischer O'Brien from Hurricanes - Prince George Cougars
- Hurricanes Acquire Phare from Prince George - Lethbridge Hurricanes
- Pats Take Six Players in Rounds Five Through Nine to Conclude the 2019 WHL Bantam Draft - Regina Pats
- Hurricanes Acquire Thacker from Swift Current - Lethbridge Hurricanes
- Kamloops Blazers Select Nine Players in 2019 WHL Bantam Draft - Kamloops Blazers
- Winterhawks Trade Shane Farkas - Portland Winterhawks
- Pats Make Four Selections in Rounds Two and Three of the WHL Bantam Draft - Regina Pats
- Isaac Johnson Traded to Winnipeg for Draft Pick - Tri-City Americans
- Royals Acquire Shane Farkas from Winterhawks - Victoria Royals
- Winnipeg ICE Acquire '99-Born Forward Isaac Johnson from the Tri-City Americans - Winnipeg Ice
- Royals Select Defenceman Jason Spizawka 19th Overall at 2019 WHL Bantam Draft - Victoria Royals
- Wheat Kings Select Three in Round One of WHL Bantam Draft - Brandon Wheat Kings
- Giants Make Two Selections in Round 2 of the 2019 WHL Bantam Draft - Vancouver Giants
- WHL Completes First Round of 2019 WHL Bantam Draft in Red Deer - WHL
- Hitmen Select Grayden Siepmann 13th Overall in the 2019 WHL Bantam Draft - Calgary Hitmen
- Oil Kings Announce First Round Selection of 2019 WHL Bantam Draft - Edmonton Oil Kings
- Raiders Select Niall Crocker 22nd Overall - Prince Albert Raiders
- Tigers Select Oasiz Wiesblatt 12th Overall - Medicine Hat Tigers
- Chiefs Snag Thornton at 15th Overall - Spokane Chiefs
- Pats Take Layton Feist in Round One of the 2019 WHL Bantam Draft - Regina Pats
- ICE Select Matthew Savoie, Conor Geekie First and Second Overall Respectively in 2019 WHL Bantam Draft - Winnipeg Ice
- Winnipeg ICE Acquire 2019 Second Overall Pick and Reece Harsch in Multi-Team Trade - Winnipeg Ice
- Rockets Make a Splash with Second Trade of the Day at Bantam Draft - Kelowna Rockets
- Hitmen Make Major Trade at 2019 WHL Bantam Draft - Calgary Hitmen
- Kelowna Rockets Make Trade at WHL Bantam Draft - Kelowna Rockets
- Blades Make Trade with ICE ahead of Draft - Saskatoon Blades
- Blades Set for 2019 WHL Bantam Draft - Saskatoon Blades
- 2019 #WHLBantamDraft Preview: WHL Teams Look to Secure Core Pieces for Future Glory - Saskatoon Blades
The opinions expressed in this release are those of the organization issuing it, and do not necessarily reflect the thoughts or opinions of OurSports Central or its staff.