Regina to pick first at WHL Bantam Draft, Kamloops 19th; Bedard granted exceptional status

The Regina Pats will pick first overall at the WHL Bantam Draft, which will be conducted online on April 22 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Swift Current, Moose Jaw, Tri-City, Prince George, Regina and Red Deer, the league’s bottom six teams in final 2019-2020 regular-season standings, were entered into a draft lottery on Wednesday at the league office in Calgary.

The top six draft order is Regina (from Swift Current via Lethbridge), Prince George, Moose Jaw, Tri-City, Saskatoon (from Regina) and Red Deer.

The order of the second round and all other rounds will be the inverse order of final 2019-2020 regular-season standings.

Kamloops will pick 19th in Round 1 and all subsequent rounds.

Players eligible will be 2005-born and reside in Alberta, B.C., 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 or Wyoming.

BC Hockey announced on Tuesday Connor Bedard of North Vancouver has been granted exceptional player status and is eligible to play full-time in the WHL as a 15-year-old.

He is the first player from Western Canada to be granted exceptional status in the CHL.

Born July 17, 2005, Bedard is a 5-foot-8, 165-pound forward who played for West Vancouver Academy’s U18 team in the Canadian Sports School Hockey League last season, notching 43 goals and 84 points in 36 games.

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