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11 BCHL players selected in 2022 USHL Phase II Draft

The United States Hockey League held Phase II of its draft on Tuesday and when the dust settled after 24 rounds, 11 players who skated in the BC Hockey League during the 2021-22 season were chosen.

According to the BCHL website, four of the players selected are committed to NCAA schools for this coming September. Another two are expected to head to college in the fall of 2023 while five players chosen are uncommitted as of this writing.

All being drafted in the USHL means is that team holds the player’s rights for the upcoming season in the league. For those players earmarked for the NCAA this fall, they might just head to college and never play in the USHL. For those players without a college commitment who are eligible to return to their BCHL club, they may decide to do just that and also, never play in the USHL.

One of the 11 BCHLers selected is a 2002-born player while six were born in 2003 and two each in 2004 and 2005. Nine are forwards and two are goaltenders.

Two players selected skated with the Cranbrook Bucks in 2021-22, while Alberni Valley, Chilliwack, Coquitlam, Penticton, Powell River, Surrey, Vernon, Wenatchee, and West Kelowna each saw one player chosen.

Hedquist, Lacroix, and Bongo among the first 55 picks

Alberni Valley goaltender Hobie Hedquist, tied for first among all BCHL netminders in wins this past season with 28, went in the first round, 14th overall to the Sioux Falls Stampede. The University of North Dakota commit was also second in the league in shutouts with five and a runner-up for the Best Goaltender award.

According to the BCHL website, the 2002-born Heron Lake, MN product is committed to the Fighting Hawks for this fall but there are reports online that he’ll play another year of junior hockey before joining UND in 2023.

Chilliwack forward A.J. Lacroix was drafted by the Tri-City Storm in the third round, 45th overall. He is uncommitted to an NCAA school at this point after putting up 21 goals and 40 points in 53 games as a 16-year-old for the Chiefs this past season.

It’s actually the second time he’s been selected in a junior hockey draft after the Calgary Hitmen took the West Vancouver, BC native in the second round of the 2020 Western Hockey League Bantam Draft.

Surrey forward Jake Bongo, who’s committed to Sacred Heart University for this fall, went to the Madison Capitols in the fourth round, 53rd overall on Tuesday. He put up 24 goals and 48 points in 53 games as a first-year player for the Eagles in 2021-22.

The 2003-born Ridgefield, CT product was also selected in Phase I of the 2019 USHL Draft by Tri-City, by Chicoutimi in the 2019 Quebec Major Junior Hockey League American Draft, and by Springfield in last year’s North American Hockey League Entry Draft.

The sixth round and beyond

2003-born Coquitlam rookie forward Tyler Kopff was selected by the Lincoln Stars in the sixth round, 87th overall, of the USHL Draft. The Ridgewood, NJ commit of Brown University posted 21 goals and 41 points in 53 games as a rookie with the Express in 2021-22.

Powell River forward Parker Lalonde was drafted by the Sioux Falls Stampede in the ninth round, 125th overall. The 2004-born native of Aberdeen, SK is set to attend Minnesota State University (Mankato) in September 2023 after notching 18 goals and 41 points in 53 games for the Kings this past season.

Cranbrook forward Luke Pfoh is the other 16-year-old from the BCHL selected in Tuesday’s draft. He went in the 10th round, 149th overall to the Lincoln Stars. The product of Port Moody, BC had 11 goals and 32 points in 43 games as a rookie with the Bucks this season.

Penticton goaltender Colin Purcell is an Ontario Hockey League Priority Selection pick, an NAHL Draft pick, a USHL Phase I Draft pick, and now a USHL Phase II Draft pick. The 2002-born Shaker Heights, OH native was selected by the Tri-City Storm in the 10th round, 153rd overall after compiling a 4-2-0 record, a 2.55 goals-against average, and an .889 save percentage in seven games with the Vees. He is committed to the University of Massachusetts for this September.

More BCHLers selected in rounds 11 through 18

2004-born Cranbrook forward Tyson Dyck was selected by the Youngstown Phantoms in the 11th round, 162nd overall. The Abbotsford, BC product was fourth in BCHL scoring this past season with 34 goals and 75 points in 54 games with the Bucks.

Forward Nick Roukounakis of the West Kelowna Warriors went to the Tri-City Storm in the 13th round, 198th overall on Tuesday. Roukounakis, a 2003-born native of Pembroke, MA, finished with nine goals and 15 points in 28 games. He is committed to Boston University for 2023.

Wenatchee forward Parker Murray went in the 16th round, 236th overall, to the Omaha Lancers. The 2003-born product of Los Angeles, CA had nine goals and 14 points in 25 games with the Wild after being acquired from Oakville of the Ontario Junior Hockey League at the trade deadline.

The final BCHLer selected in the 2022 USHL Draft was Vernon forward Luke Buss, who was chosen by the Muskegon Lumberjacks in the 18th round, 268th overall. The 2003-born forward from Columbus, OH notched 16 goals and 36 points in 48 games as a Vipers rookie in 2021-22.

Two alumni drafted

Phase II of the USHL Draft also saw two former BCHL players, two 2021-22 affiliate players, and four incoming players for 2022-23 selected.

2002-born forward Jake McLean (six goals, 14 assists in 61 games with Prince George and Merritt from in 2019-21) went to the Waterloo Black Hawks in the fourth round, 48th overall. The North Vancouverite spent the 2021-22 season with the Bismarck Bobcats of the NAHL. McLean is committed to Bemidji State University for this September.

Braden Fischer (one goal, one assist in 16 games with Salmon Arm in 2020-21) was selected in the seventh round, 99th overall, by Cedar Rapids. The 2002-born forward posted 74 points in 52 games with Virden of the Manitoba Junior Hockey League this past season.

Shawnigan Lake School U18 Prep defender Dylan Compton was chosen by the Green Bay Gamblers in the seventh round, 96th overall. The 2005-born blueliner from Victoria, BC played two games in 2021-22 as an affiliate player for the Vernon Vipers. Meanwhile, he tallied 46 points in 36 Canadian Sport School Hockey League games for Shawnigan Lake.

2006-born forward Hiroki Gojsic of St. George’s School U18 Prep in the CSSHL went to the Waterloo Black Hawks in the 14th round, 202nd overall. The Langley, BC native was an affiliate for his hometown Rivermen this past season and played one game. With St. George’s, Gojsic posted 51 points in 32 games.

Four 2021-22 recruits drafted

Chilliwack Chiefs recruit Ryan Walsh was drafted by the Cedar Rapids RoughRiders in the fourth round, 52nd overall. The 2003-born forward from Rochester, NY was announced as an incoming 2022-23 player for the Chiefs back in February. He had 24 goals and 59 points in 28 games for the Buffalo Regals 18U AAA this past season. The Brown commit also got into 28 games at Salisbury School, registering 39 points.

Incoming Penticton Vees forward Billy Norcross was selected by the Omaha Lancers in the ninth round, 131st overall. The 2003-born forward is already committed to Boston College for the 2023-24 season. The Vees announced in March that Norcross would join them for the 2022-23 BCHL season. He played 26 games this season as the captain at Cushing Academy and scored 31 points.

2003-born Vernon Vipers recruit Hank Cleaves was drafted by Fargo in the 10th round, 143rd overall. The forward committed to the Vipers for 2022-23 back in February. Cleaves, who’s from Riverside, CT, was the captain at Brunswick School this past season and finished with 39 points in 30 games. He’ll begin his NCAA Division I career at Dartmouth College in September 2023.

Forward Eli Sebastian committed to the Penticton Vees in October 2021, but despite that, he was chosen by the Green Bay Gamblers in the 11th round, 156th overall of the USHL Draft on Tuesday. The 2004-born native of Burlington, ON compiled 40 points in 44 games at St. Andrew’s College in 2021-22 and is committed to Northeastern University for 2023.