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How We Were Built - 2019 Edition

April 21, 2020 - Western Hockey League (WHL) - Winnipeg Ice News Release

This is an exciting time for everyone associated with the Western Hockey League. With the annual WHL Bantam Draft upon us, there's a buzz in the hockey community as clubs make their final preparations for selection day and talented young players wait to hear their name called.

The draft is central to shaping a quality WHL team, this past season the Winnipeg ICE finished second in the East Division with an impressive 38-24-1-0 record and when the campaign ended 11 of the 22 players on the roster were ICE WHL Bantam Draft selections.

This is part four of a four-part look at how the draft has shaped the ICE.


The 2019 edition of the draft featured a stunning plot twist almost right off the top, one authored by the Winnipeg ICE.

After winning the WHL Draft Lottery, the ICE entered the big day with the top selection and took highly-touted center Matt Savoie of St. Albert, AB.

Savoie drew comparisons to some of the NHL's biggest stars with his impressive array of skills going into the draft at only 14 years of age.

And while the reality of the new Winnipeg club's choice was still very fresh, General Manager Matt Cockell swung two deals to not only add veteran defenceman Reece Harsch, but also move up to the second pick where the club wasted no time taking Manitoba's own Conor Geekie.


It's well-known now that Savoie opted to sign with the ICE and his 15 year-old season was an impressive one.

Matt recorded 59 points in 24 games in the Candian Sport School midget league , but that's only part of the story. Savoie added 6 points in 6 games at the U-17 World Hockey Challenge and 3 points in 4 games when he captained Canada to a bronze medal at the Youth Olympic Games in Switzerland.

Matt also picked up 5 points in a 7 game stretch with the ICE early in the winter months on his way to 22 total appearances for the big team in 2019-20.

As for Geekie, the lanky center made the jump to Midget AAA look straightforward putting up 35 points - including 18 goals - in 26 games.

Conor also showed-off impressive hockey sense turning in a series of competitive, two-way efforts in a 7 game introduction to the WHL with the ICE.

Two big talents set to make big impacts as they work their way into the ICE full-time.

Find out who the ICE add in the 2020 WHL Bantam Draft Wednesday, April 22nd by visiting or following along on our social media channels

Until June 1, 2020, your decision to purchase a season ticket results in the ICE donating 15% of the purchase to local COVID-19 relief organizations and an additional ticket to healthcare workers or youth on your behalf.

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