Congraluations to all U15 Prep Student-Athletes and their families on being drafted in the WHL Prospects Draft and a day they will remember for a long time. Though this is only the first step of many to playing in the WHL, it most assuredly is a moment to treasure and be proud of as a young hockey player.
Players eligible for the 2023 WHL Prospects Draft are 2008-born players who reside in 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. Eligible players have had a full season to show what they bring to the table and that immense effort will be recognized by WHL Clubs Thursday. Players not selected in the 2023 WHL Prospects Draft will remain eligible to be listed by WHL Clubs at any time thereafter.
As seen in Victoria Royals Official Press Release - The Victoria Royals selected defenceman Keaton Verhoeff with the fourth overall pick in the 2023 WHL Prospects Draft on Thursday. Verhoeff tallied 13 goals and 33 assists for 46 points in 27 games with RINK Hockey Academy Kelowna U15 Prep during the 2022-23 season. Hailing from Fort Saskatchewan, Alberta, Verhoeff stands at 6’3 and 191lbs.
Verhoeff becomes the second highest player selected in Royals franchise history, at fourth overall. The right-handed defenceman finished second in CSSHL U15 Defenceman Scoring and first in CSSHL U15 Defenceman Scoring for 2023 WHL Draft Eligible players. Verhoeff also played two games for the RINK Hockey Academy Kelowna U16 team and one game for the RINK Hockey Academy Kelowna U18 team over the course of the season.
“We are very proud to be able to select Keaton with the 4th overall pick,” said Royals Assistant General Manager and Director of Player Personnel, J.F. Best. “Keaton checks all the boxes. He is a person of high character with a great work ethic, who embodies what it means to be a Royal. As a player, he is a skilled defenceman with dynamic abilities and creative offensive instincts. Defensively, he plays with a good stick and is an imposing presence down low and around the net. We are excited to welcome him and the Verhoeff family to the Royals organization.”
As seen in Edmonton Oil Kings Official Press Release - Iginla is a product of Lake Country, BC and played this past season with the U15 Prep Rink Hockey Academy in Kelowna where he finished 6th in CSSHL scoring after putting up 65 points (37G, 28A) in just 27 games.
The 5-foot-10, is the son of former NHLer, 2020 Hockey Hall of Fame inductee and St. Albert native Jarome Iginla.
Congratulations to Giorgos Pantelas on being selected 19th overall to the Brandon Wheat Kings in the 2023 WHL Prospects Draft. Giorgos put up 57 points in 61 games played as a defenseman notching 14 goals and 43 assists during his 2022-23 season.