WHL teams give nod to Seafair Bantams in draft

By Don Fennell

Published 8:43 PDT, Thu May 3, 2018

Three members of one team, the Western Canadian champion Seafair Islanders, were selected in today’s Western Hockey League Bantam Draft.

Michael Abgrall, one-third of the Islanders’ potent forward line that also featured Jaden Uy and Davis Sato, got the nod from the Edmonton Oil Kings in the fourth round, 67th overall. Six picks later, at No. 73, Uy went to the Lethbridge Hurricanes. And defenceman Joshua Wessels, who was the top blueliner at the Westerns, was selected in the eighth round, 159th overall, by the Kamloops Blazers.

Describing Abgrall as a quiet kid, his Bantam coach Steve Robinson said “He’s a great skater. I always refer to him as having an effortless stride. He does a lot of tae kwon do or karate off the ice and I think that helps him have great balance.”

Robinson said the combination of a great season, both personally, and as a team, helped Abgrall get noticed.

“It’s great to see (him get drafted),” Robinson continued. “It’s all about skating for him to become an elite player.”

In Uy, Robinson sees a player with a good all-around game.

“He’s a super hard-working kid with a great shot. And he led our team in scoring by a ridiculous number.”

Robinson said Abgrall and Uy enjoyed Sedin-like chemistry on the ice.

It was somewhat fitting that Wessels, a 5-11, 174-pound blueliner, was selected by Kamloops. He was presented with the top defenceman award at the Westerns by Blazers’ coach Don Hay.

“He’s a very good all-around player,” said Robinson. “And he plays a ton of minutes.”

Robinson was disappointed than no team used a pick on Sato.

“He’s a fast player who can score goals, and his play and talent speaks to change in hockey today. But it’s a journey, not a marathon so I hope he stays with it.”

Two other Richmond players did get selected in the WHL Bantam Draft. Kayden Sadhra-Kang, a 6-foot-3, 170-pound defenceman, went 195th overall in the ninth round to the Lethbridge Hurricanes. He played on the St. George’s School Bantam Varsity 1 team. He scored 43 points in 27 regular-season games, and added six more in five playoff games.

Sammy May, a 5-foot-8, 164-pound centre went in 11th round , 228th overall, to the Saskatoon Blades. He played last season for the Delta Hockey Academy Bantam Prep Green Team, netting 21 points in 28 regular-season games.

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