The Prince George Cougars won the Western Hockey League bantam draft lottery on Wednesday morning.
One of the Cougars' three balls in the draw was picked, moving the Cats up two positions in the first round of the draft. There were a total of 21 balls in the lottery, meaning the Cougars only had a one-in-seven chance of winning.
“We’re ecstatic, there’s so many good players at the top of this draft class. To move up to second overall and select an elite talent is very gratifying and great for our organization,” Cougars general manager and head coach Mark Lamb said in a press release.
The win means the Cougars have the second overall pick, after the Regina Pats. In addition, the Cats have two more first-round draft picks at 17th and 22nd overall.
The Swift Current Broncos held the first position, but traded their first-round draft pick to the Pats. The order for the first round draft will be the Pats, Cougars, Moose Jaw Warriors, Tri-City Americans, Saskatoon Blades (who picked up the Pats' original first-round pick in a trade) and the Red Deer Rebels. The remaining teams in the league will be allocated picks in inverse order based on their standings in the 2019-2020 regular season.
Likewise the order in the second and any subsequent draft rounds will be in inverse order based on regular season standings, meaning the Cougars will pick fourth in the second round.
The bantam draft will be conducted online on April 22, after the live event planned for May 6-7 in Red Deer, Alta. was cancelled over concerns about the COVID-19 pandemic.
Players eligible for the 2020 WHL Bantam Draft will be 2005-born players who live in Western Canada and the western U.S. states.