Colorado youth hockey quartet chosen in two-day 2021 WHL draft process
The Western Hockey League completed the 2021 WHL U.S. Priority Draft Wednesday day with clubs selecting 44 players throughout the two-round draft.
With the first-overall pick, the Seattle Thunderbirds selected forward Macklin Celebrini, a North Vancouver, B.C., native who has tallied 42 points (20 goals, 22 assists) in 23 games with Shattuck-St. Mary’s so far this season.
In total, 11 different states had players selected in the 2021 WHL U.S. Priority Draft, led by 15 players from California. Of the 44 players selected, WHL teams chose two goaltenders, 18 defensemen and 24 forwards.
Colorado players selected include Colorado Thunderbirds’ 15U forward AJ Ulrich (Arvada), who went in the second round (24th overall) to the Prince Albert Riders, and Rocky Mountain RoughRiders’ 15U defenseman Kolby Gapter (Arvada), who was taken one pick later by the Medicine Hat Tigers.
The WHL then completed the 2021 WHL Prospects Draft online Thursday.
With the first overall pick in the draft, the Spokane Chiefs used the selection to take forward Berkly Catton of his hometown Saskatoon Contacts’ 18U team.
In total, 214 players were selected by WHL clubs, including 119 forwards, 71 defensemen, and 24 goaltenders.
Thursday’s proceedings saw seven players selected from the United States, following on the heels of 43 American-born players taken in the 2021 WHL U.S. Priority Draft on Wednesday, including two Colorado products.
In the eighth round, the Red Deer Rebels chose Boulder native Grant Young 157th overall. Young, who played the 2020-21 season for the Thunderbirds’ 14U team, is skating this season for the Windy City Storm 15U AAA program.
Then in the 10th round, the Vancouver Giants selected Thunderbirds’ 15U forward Ethan McEneany at pick No. 211.
(December 9, 2021)