The second instalment of the SJHL Bantam Draft is set to take place next week on Thursday, June 2 in Nipawin. The following day, the teams and league will convene to discuss scheduling for the 2016-17 season along with other topics in need of discussion.
After previously trading away their own third-round pick, the North Stars picked up the Flin Flon Bombers third rounder to ensure they have a selection in all six rounds. North Stars head coach and general manager Kevin Hasselberg admitted scouting bantam-aged players is difficult.
“It’s not easy, to be honest with you,” Hasselberg said with a laugh. “There’s so much that can happen between the time they’re ready to play for you and the time they’re being scouted. You don’t know if hockey is what they’re passionate about. You have to do as much homework as possible to ensure they love the game and want to be a part of it long term.”
This year's draft class features players born in 2001, who aren’t eligible to play junior hockey full-time until the 2017-18 season. The North Stars made five selections in the 2015 draft, the highest of which was Prince Albert defenceman Jake Koroluk.
Hasselberg said the players they’ve targeted for this year's draft is generally kids from the surrounding area. Since he isn’t able to get out and watch the players too often himself, he relies heavily on his scouting staff to make the right selections.
“I’m really happy with our picks from last year,” Hasselberg said. “I think they’ve developed nicely and they’ll be good Junior A players for us in the future. A few of them played Midget AA last year, a few of them played AAA and one of them will be playing for (the Battlefords AAA Stars) this year.”
Koroluk will be attending camp with the Stars hoping to crack the roster and play in the same rink he would play in with the North Stars. He scored once and added 15 assists in 27 games with the Prince Albert AA Raiders last season.
With the Junior A season over, Hasselberg said he’s always open for trade discussions.
“If we can improve our hockey team we’re going to do it,” Hasselberg said. “I really like what we have coming back, we’re going to be very strong on the backend and we’ll see some emerging players that will have more of a role offensively this year.”
Hasselberg said he’s thrilled the entire North Stars leadership group, captain Kendall Fransoo and assistant captains Logan Nachtegaele, Connor Sych and Reed Delainey, will be returning for next season. Delainey was slated to begin his NCAA career with the Rochester Institute of Technology Tigers this fall, but has deferred his scholarship for another season to play a fourth year with the North Stars.
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