This year’s BC and Western Canadian Bantam Champion NSWC Winterhawks delivered three of the top five picks in the 2014 WHL bantam draft, and four more in later rounds.
Six of the picks also played on the team as first years last season, when the team also won the BCs, and made it to the Western finals, settling for silver vs Alberta’s South Side Athletic Club.
The players were also key players two years ago, winning the Peewee A1 BC Provincial Championships with the Winterhawks.
Captain Jordan Bellerive was drafted second overall, by Lethbridge. Bellerive came to NSWC in his first year peewee from Hollyburn.
D-man Nolan Kneen was the third pick, taken by Kamloops. Kneen moved to North Van from Merritt in his second year of peewee.
Justin Almeida was picked fifth, a high scoring line mate with Bellerive, by Prince George. Almeida also joined the club in his second year of peewee, with his family relocating to the North Shore from Kitimat.
Kneen’s d-partner Connor McDonald was the second pick in round 2, also picked by Kamloops, where former Vancouver Giants head coach Don Hay is making his return. McDonald and family relocated from South Delta to join the Winterhawks, also in second year peewee.
Both NSWC goalies were selected, Dorin Luding (Vancouver) in the third round and David Tendick (North Vancouver) in the sixth. Luding was picked by Kelowna and traded to Saskatoon. Tendick was picked by Edmonton and traded to the Giants, where he could join Bellerive in two or three years.
Forward Brett Stapley, typically the third man on the Bellerive-Almeida line, was the final NSWC pick, by Calgary. Stapley’s family moved to the North Shore from Campbell River. Brett’s older brother Mitch played for the North West Giants major midget team this year.
The Winterhawks enjoyed more good news a few days after the draft, when BC Hockey’s top 44 U16 hopefuls were announced.
In addition to the seven drafted players, d-man Sami Pharaon, along with forwards Angus Crookshank and Evan Walls, were selected to U16 working group.
2014 NSWC Winterhawks, WHL Draft picks:
|R||Pick||Team||Traded to||Player||Pos||Home Town||Ht||Wt||Prev Team||DOB|
|1||2||Lethbridge||Lethbridge||Jordan Bellerive||C||North Van, BC||5.09||180||NSWC||5/2/99|
|1||3||Kamloops||Kamloops||Nolan Kneen||RD||North Van, BC||5.10||165||NSWC||3/22/99|
|1||5||Prince George||Prince George||Justin Almeida||C||North Van, BC||5.07||130||NSWC||2/6/99|
|2||24||Kamloops||Kamloops||Conner McDonald||RD||North Van, BC||5.10||170||NSWC||5/31/99|
|3||66||Kelowna||Saskatoon||Dorin Luding||Goal||Vancouver, BC||6.00||195||NSWC||4/30/99|
|6||130||Edmonton||Vancouver||David Tendeck||Goal||North Van, BC||6.00||155||NSWC||11/25/99|
|7||151||Calgary||Calgary||Brett Stapley||C||North Van, BC||5.07||140||NSWC||2/23/99|