ICE increase size at Bantam Draft

By Jeff Bromley
Go Big or go home. That was the order
of the day for the Kootenay ICE as the
WHL held their 12th annual Bantam
Draft at the Pengrowth Saddledome in
Calgary this past Thursday. In this years
draft, held for players born in 1986 and
who will be at least one year away from
playing the WHL, there wasn’t the hype
of any one player who would
immediately set the league on fire like a
Jay Bouwmeester or a Steve McCarthy
but rather an even keel of possible talent
spread throughout the early rounds. For
the Kootenay ICE, there was a theme
set throughout the draft, size. There was
a conscious effort to increase the club’s
dimensions and even though these kids
are one or two years away from
attempting to make an impact and still
have those years in which to fill out – the
message was clear – almost to a player,
size was a factor.

Finding themselves picking eighteenth
out of nineteen WHL club’s, Director of
Player Personnel Roy Stasiuk was taken
a little off guard when still waiting at
number eighteen was Jeremy
Schenderling, a highly touted prospect
playing for the Western Canadian
Bantam Champion Langley AAA
Eagles. Consequently, the ICE
immediately made the 6’1″, 170lb
Langley product their first overall pick.
“This might sound like a bit of a cliche,
but we honestly couldn’t believe that our
first round pick, Jeremy Schenderling
from Langley was still available at
number eighteen. We had him rated in
our assessment of the Bantam Draft in
the top three, so we are extremely
pleased at landing a player of Jeremy’s
caliber,” said Stasiuk. Although
Schenderling is not ready for the bright
lights of the WHL yet, the Stasiuk
believes he can be a force in the WHL.
“Jeremy will be at least a year away
from joining the club but we see him
becoming a goal-scoring, power-
forward in this league,” said Stasiuk.

The optimism is always guarded
however as Stasiuk admits that it’ll be a
challenge for his number one draft pick
to step into the line-up as a sixteen yr
old, “Many people don’t realize how
tough it is for a sixteen-year-old player
to step in and play at this level. We’ve
had some special ones in Steve
McCarthy, Jarret Stoll, Dan Blackburn
and this year in Andy Thompson but it
not something that happens all the time.”
Jeremy will come to camp and then play
another year of Bantam with a very
good program in Langley, who are the
reigning Western Canadian Bantam

Going down the list of ten players taken
in the draft by the ICE and one gets the
feeling that size could play in increasing
role in the very near future editions of
the Kootenay ICE. Of the ten drafted,
only two were less than six feet tall, with
one of them, Schenderling’s teammate
Taylor Dakers, being a goaltender.
Given the fact that these kids are only
fourteen, its only natural to assume that
they are going to get bigger. “Size is
something we were very aware of going
into this draft,” said Stasiuk. “We’ve
focused on speed in recent drafts and
this year we were looking to achieve
more of a balance of size, speed and

In previous drafts, Stasiuk and his staff
had the benefit of a young, fledgling
expansion club’s high picks in the draft
that resulted in the McCarthy’s,
Blackburn’s and Stoll’s. The fruits of
those drafts produced two straight
second place overall finishes in the
regular season standings the last two
years but also produced late picks in the
order of the draft. Stasiuk doesn’t think
that it’s ever easy whether you pick high
or low in the draft order but rather it’s
always tough identifying talent at this
level. “If anything it teaches you
patience when you draft lower but even
with the high picks it’s never easy.

Sometimes there were three players we
wanted when we drafted high but could
only have one. It’s just a matter of
identifying those players who will fit in
best with the needs of your club. We
have a philosophy with the players we
draft. It’s not necessarily who you draft
but rather what you do with them in
terms of their development when they
join your club.”

Here are the Kootenay ICE 2001 WHL
Bantam Draft Picks

Jeremy Schenderling, RW/Center – 1st
(18th overall) 6’1″, 170lbs.
Ryan Issel, LW – 2nd (53th overall) 6’3″,
Mark Wilson, RD – 3rd (55th overall),
6’2″, 165lbs.
Joshua Fauth, LD, 4th (75th overall),
6’3″, 225lbs.
Mike Boxma, C, 5th (94th overall), 6’1″,
Taylor Dakers, G, 6th (113th overall),
5’11”, 160lbs.
Jerris Paul, RD, 7th, (132nd overall), 6’2″,
Riley Jones, RW/C, 8th (151st overall),
5’11”, 175lbs.
Adam Bunz, LW, 9th (174th overall),
6’2″, 170lbs.
Ryan Morris, LW, 10th (189th overall),
6’1″, 155lbs.

Quick Hits – It was a slow year for
local and regional Bantam products at
this years WHL Draft as Dane Tress of
Sparwood, B.C. was the only East
Kootenay player taken at 185th overall
by the Calgary Hitmen. Ryan
McConnachie of Fruitvale in the West
Kootenays was taken 100th overall by
the Tri-City Americans….. If you look
closely at the number five pick of the
Kootenay ICE you’ll see a familiar
name. Mike Boxma is the younger
brother of former ICE goaltender B.J.
Boxma, who now toils for the Swift
Current Broncos and was stellar in
backstopping Speedy Creek to seven
game, second round series win over the
ICE. As a forward, I’m told that the
younger Boxma is as tenacious as his
older brother is between the pipes.