Wood and Gelbard selected in 2021 USHL Phase I Draft


Two players who were regulars in the 2020-21 BC Hockey League season were selected in Phase I of the 2021 US Hockey League Draft on Wednesday.

16-year-old forward Walker Gelbard from Cranbrook was the highest BCHL player selected in this year’s USHL Futures Draft when the Des Moines Buccaneers grabbed him in the third round, 36th overall. The North Vancouver, BC product had an excellent season for the Bucks, scoring two goals and nine points in a dozen games for the expansion club.

Gelbard was technically an affiliate player for Cranbrook as 2005-born players were too young to be signed to a regular roster spot during the 2020-21 season. He started the season on a three-game point streak and finished with a pair of multi-point games overall.

He was also selected by the Medicine Hat Tigers in the third round, 54th overall, at the 2020 Western Hockey League Bantam Draft.

Forward Matthew Wood of the Victoria Grizzlies was the second BCHL player chosen, going to the Sioux Falls Stampede in the ninth round, 122nd overall. Wood, who’s from Nanaimo, completed his first BCHL season with the Grizzlies during the pod season and posted five goals and 13 points in 18 games.

Wood, a prospect for the 2023 NHL Draft, committed to the Grizzlies back in January. He was also technically an affiliate player for Victoria this past season because of his age. Wood finished the season on a three-game point streak.

The Regina Pats selected him in the second round, 41st overall, in last year’s WHL Bantam Draft.

Gelbard and Wood were teammates on the BC Junior Canucks at the 2015 Brick Invitation Tournament as well as West Van Academy U15 Prep of the Canadian Sport School Hockey League during the 2019-20 season.