U15 Prep Student-Athletes and fellow Americans Brody Gillespie and Cruz Waltze were selected 1st & 2nd Overal in the 2023 US Priority Draft.
The 2023 WHL U.S. Priority Draft will consist of two rounds and 44 selections, with each WHL Club presented with the opportunity to make two draft choices. Players eligible for the 2023 WHL U.S. Priority Draft are 2008-born players who reside in Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Kansas, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming. Players not selected in the 2023 WHL U.S. Priority Draft will remain eligible to be selected in the 2023 WHL Prospects Draft on Thursday, May 11, or listed by a WHL Club at any time thereafter.
Brody Gillespie, a six-foot forward out of Vancouver, Washington, spent the 2022-23 season with our U15 Prep team where he finished as the third-highest scorer on his team after piling up 100 points in 61 games (45G-55A). Brody also boded well in the CSSHL Western Championship where he notced 2G & 2A over 5 playoff games. Gillespie finished the season ranked within the top ten skaters in the CSSHL through 28 league games (26G-28A) and averaged 1.93 points per game.
As for Brody's prior US hockey experience, Gillespie played 38 games with the Wenatchee Wolverines 14U AAA squad in 2021-22, where he put up 39 points.
Spoke Chiefs Director of U.S. Scouting, George Ross, had the following to say about Brody. “Brody is a very complete player who adds an element of skill, speed, size and energy to our lineup and we couldn’t be more excited to add him to our group.”
See Spokane's offical press release of their US Priority Draft.
Cruz Waltze, standing 5'9" and coming in at 150lbs, had a strong 2022-23 campaign where he tallied 24 goals and 22 assists for 46 points in 28 games. Born and raised in Richland, Washington, Cruz also led our U15 Prep team in playoff scoring and tied for first in CSSHL U15 Playoff scoring, tallying 14 points in 5 playoff games.
Royals Assistant General Manager and Director of Player Personnel, J.F. Best, had the following to say about welcoming Waltze to the organization: “We are thrilled to be able to select Cruz with the 2nd overall pick and welcome him and his family to Victoria. Cruz is a well-rounded person who’s had a great year at the U15 level and raised his game during the CSSHL playoffs. As a player, he combines a tenacious compete level with playmaking and a deft touch around the net. It will be fun to watch him develop in the years to come.”
See Victoria's offical press release of their US Priority Draft.