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MJHL teams gearing up for the Bantam Draft

This Sunday the MJHL Bantam Draft takes place in Winkler. For 11 teams in the league, this is an opportunity to build for the future and hopefully select the league’s next “super star”.

While Neepawa Natives have the first overall selection, Steinbach Pistons have three picks in the first round. In fact, they have two picks in the top four.

“We really liked this year’s draft class,” Pistons’ GM/Head Coach Paul Dyck said. “While we didn’t deliberately stock up on picks, if they became available, we jumped at getting them.”

Pistons have the second overall selection thanks to a trade with Wayway. Pistons then select fourth (trade with OCN), followed by their own pick at 10th overall.

“It’s always been our philosophy to build through the draft,” said Dyck. “We’ve pretty much stuck to that. We’ve also had good success with that philosophy. The draft is an important way to build for the future, in addition to other ways, whether it be trade or signing an unaffiliated player.”

Last season the Pistons had four high drafts in their line-up. Nic Kobelka (2009 draft), Denis Bosc (2010 draft) and Justin Baudry (2011) were all picked by the Pistons, while the Pistons traded for Dan Taillefer (4th overall selection by Portage).

Baudry has been an impact defenceman for the Pistons. He recently committed to NCAA Div 1 school Bemidji State University.

The Pistons’ first pick in 2012, defenceman James Shearer (Brandon), will likely challenge for a spot on the club this coming fall, said Dyck.

“We’ve certainly had a lot of success at the draft,” said Dyck. “All of those players (Kobelka, Bosc, Baudry and Taillefer) have made an impact on our team.

“Our scouting staff puts in hundreds of hours of watching games, scouting players, doing their homework…..This Sunday is really the culmination of all that hard work. Every team relies very heavily on their scouting staffs. They are really invaluable.”

The 2014 Bantam Draft order is as follows:

1)      Neepawa

2)      Wayway (traded to Steinbach)

3)      Winkler

4)      OCN (traded to Steinbach)

5)      Swan Valley

6)      Virden

7)      Winnipeg

8)      Portage

9)      Dauphin (traded to Swan Valley)

10)  Steinbach

11)  Selkirk

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