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Local talent recognized on WHL Draft

Three Lakers made it to the list
Spencer Michnik. Submitted photo

Three Sylvan Lake ice-hockey enthusiasts heard their names called at the 2021 WHL Prospects Draft Dec. 9. Caleb Hadland, Keith Mcinnis and Spencer Michnik, who played for the West Central Tigers were recognized on the draft.

Coach Jimmy Lawrence shared his pride in seeing the students get recognized for the excellence they duly deserve.

“I had the pleasure of coaching all three of them on two very good teams at different ages.

“Michnik is a goalie who has been a hardworking kid, who puts in the extra effort and time to get better and his parents have invested in him to be the best goalie he can be.

“McInnis is a very high-end defenceman who seizes the game well. He is a great kid and a great leader.

“Hadland is an all-around 200-foot hockey player, a power forward. He is very inclined, a great teammate and a great leader as well,” said Lawrence.

Alberta led all provinces with as many as 75 players drafted on the 2021 WHL Draft. The drafted players are registered with Hockey Alberta/Hockey Canada sanctioned programs.

“Defenceman Charlie Elick (Calgary) was the first Albertan off the board, as the Brandon Wheat Kings selected him third overall. Two more defenders went back-to-back later on in the first round.

“With the final selection of the round, the Wheat Kings went back to Alberta to take forward Caleb Hadland (Sylvan Lake) with the 22nd pick.

“Spencer Michnik (Sylvan Lake) was the first Albertan goalie taken, as the Seattle Thunderbirds selected him in the fifth round, 96th overall.

“In total, 42 forward were selected, 21 defencemen, and 10 goaltenders,” shared Hockey Alberta website.

Being recognized on the WHL Draft felt like a childhood dream come true, said Michnik. He added, “ I was pretty nervous but it was an amazing day to get drafted to the WHL and to a great organization like Seattle. I dreamed of this day since I was a little kid and my dad used to take me to Rebels games.

“To get to this point it’s been a lot of early morning practices and dedication to working out and getting better every day. But I love hockey and everything about it, so, it was fun, not a grind.

“Some of my best memories are from the two seasons I played with the West Central Tigers. We won the SCAHL league both years I played here and we had some great teams with lots of really good players and super coaches in Jimmy Lawrence and then Chad Beagle. We had such a great group of guys on those teams, it’s definitely my best hockey memories so far. My season at NAX U16 has been going well and I’ve even gotten into a few AJHL games with the Blackfalds Bulldogs this year so it’s been a great year.”

Lawrence wishes the players well for their future endeavours.

The WHL consists of 22 member clubs with 17 located in western Canada and five in the U.S. Pacific northwest, states the WHL website. Being a member of the Canadian Hockey League, WHL has been supplying talent for the National Hockey League for over 50 years.