Brock England. COURTESY PHOTO, Canadian Sport School Hockey League

Brock England. COURTESY PHOTO, Canadian Sport School Hockey League

Kent-based Thunderbirds load up on Western Hockey League draft picks

Eleven players taken in Prospects Draft; two in U.S. Priority Draft, both from Dallas team

The Kent-based Seattle Thunderbirds are loading up for the future with 11 picks in the Western Hockey League (WHL) Prospects Draft and two selections in the WHL U.S. Priority Draft.

The T-Birds took forward Brock England, 14, with the 11th overall pick in the first round of the Prospects Draft on May 9. They took two players in the Priority Draft May 8, each from the Dallas (Texas) Stars Elite 14U AAA team.

According to the Canadian Hockey League website, players eligible for the 2024 WHL Prospects Draft were 2009-born players residing 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.

A total of 237 players were selected by WHL teams in the Prospects Draft.

Forty-four players (born in 2009) were taken in the U.S. Priority Draft, which is held a day prior to the Prospects Draft. Any U.S. players not chosen in the Priority Draft remains eligible for the Prospects Draft.

A look at each pick, compiled by the T-Bird staff:

WHL Prospects Draft

Brock England: First round, 11th overall, forward, from Calgary, Alberta’s private Edge School U15 Prep in Canada. In the 2023-24 season England played in 24 games with Under age 15 team and seven games with U18. Scoring 20 goals (18 and 2 respectively) and totaling 44 points.

Matthew Hilderman: Second round, 23rd overall, forward, from Edge School U15 Prep. In the 2023-24 season Hilderman was a Canadian Sport School Hockey League (CSSHL) Second Team All-Star with 29 regular season and playoff goals (the most on the U15 Prep team).

Grayson Tash: Second round, 64th overall, defenseman from Burnaby, British Columbia Winter Club (BWC) Academy U15 Prep. Tash played in 33 games with the Burnaby Winter Club (BWC), tallying 39 points (3 goals and 36 assists).

Marcus Laraque: Fourth round, 79th selection, forward, from the HC Edmonton, Alberta U15. Laraque played in 31 regular season games and registered 41 points (13 goals and 28 assists). Marcus is the son of former Montreal Canadians right winger Georges Laraque, noted for being one of the most successful hockey enforcers of his time.

Seamus Dillon: Fifth round, 100th overall, forward, from the Airdrie Xtreme U15 AAA in Alberta. In the 2023-24 Dillon played in 34 regular season games and 10 playoffs games registering 37 points in the regular season (17 goals, 20 assists) and 11 points in the post-season (2 goals, 9 assists).

Rylan Maughan: Seventh round, 137th overall, defenseman, from Vancouver, B.C. Island Hockey Club U15. Maughan played in 44 games with the Island Wild U15 & Island Wild U18 and registered 41 points (15 goals and 26 assists).

Kai Richards: Seventh round, 151st overall, forward, from St. Albert (Alberta) U15 AAA Sabres. During the 2023-24 season thus far, Richards has played 34 games and scored 22 goals with 40 assists for 62 points.

Brock MacDougal: Eighth round, 159th overall, forward. MacDougal played the 2023-24 season with the HC Edmonton U15, scoring 31 goals with 21 assists in 33 games for 52 points. As well as six playoff apparencies where he registered five goals and two assists, for seven total points.

Theo McBride: 10th round, 203rd overall, goaltender, from the Calgary, Alberta CNHA U15 AAA Northstars. In the 2023-24 season McBride played in 18 games for the Northstars, his goal against average is 2.12 with a save percentage of 0.931 and a 12-6-0 record.

Ryder Forster: 11th round, 225th overall, defenseman, from HC Edmonton U15. Forster has played in 30 games during the 2023-24 season and has nine goals and 33 assists for 42 total points.

Aidan Harman: 12th round, 247th overall, defenseman, from the Lloydminster Athletics in Saskatchewan, U15. In the 2023-24 season Harman played 32 games with the Athletics U15, nine games with the Athletics U18, and one game with the Calgary Rockies U17. In the 42 games he played he tallied 51 points (21 goals and 30 assists).

U.S. Priority Draft

Ewen Willers: First round, second overall, forward, from the Dallas (Texas) Stars Elite 14U AAA. In the 2023-24 season Willers played in 78 games and registered 51 points (26 goals and 25 assists).

Brendan Williams: Second round, 26th overall, forward, from the Dallas Stars Elite 14U AAA. In 79 games Williams played in the 20223-24 season, he scored 11 goals and 14 assists for 25 points.

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