The Canadian Sport School Hockey League (the CSSHL) has developed into quite the development league for Western Hockey League teams and the Victoria Royals especially. Eleven of their draft picks from the 2016 and 2017 WHL Bantam Drafts are currently playing in either the Midget Prep or Elite 15s Division, with some varying success. Let’s run down who’s doing what, and if success at this level could translate to success with the Royals down the line.
ELITE 15s DIVISION
6 of the Royals’ 12 picks are currently playing in this division, with 4 of them on the same team. Forwards Ty Yoder (93rd overall) and Nathan Morgan (230th), along with defensemen Noah Lamb (118th) and Michael Benning (142nd) are all playing for the Northern Alberta X-Treme 15s who are currently in first place and unbeaten with 10 wins in 10 games. Yoder is first on the team with 14 goals and 23 points, good for second in the entire league. Benning and Lamb create a 1-2 offensive punch on the backend with 11 and 10 points respectively, while Nathan Morgan is currently putting up 1.6 points per game, which puts him 3rd on the team with 13 points in 8 games including 9 goals.
The Royals draft picks are running this team but are doing so as far away as you can get in this league. The four players are all Alberta boys who have played against or with each other growing up, so playing together on their way to the Victoria Royals will only help their cohesion and togetherness going forward. The Royals win if they had anything to do with putting these guys together in this league.
The two other draft picks who are playing in this league are forwards Dylan Hewlett (164th) with the Burnaby Winter Club Elite 15s and Carter Loney (202nd), with the Rink Hockey Elite 15s. Hewlett hasn’t been all that impressive, with only 4 points in 8 games, but Loney has put up 3 points in 3 games while also spending time skating on Team Black for the USA S15’s. The Winnipeg-born Loney is trying his hand in the American system, as he has dual citizenship.
The 5 players playing in the CSSHL Midget Prep Division are forwards Ty Thorpe (54th overall in 2017), Tyus Gent (88th overall in 2016) and Elan Bar-Lev-Wise, defenseman Jonathan Lambos (49th overall in 2016) and goaltender Brock Gould (170th overall in 2016). Thorpe, Lambos and Gould all play for the same team, lacing up for Rink Hockey Academy Prep, who play out of Winnipeg. Although they’ve only played 6 games, Thorpe already has 7 points and played for Team Manitoba at the WHL Cup that just finished in the middle of October. He finished that tournament with 4 points in 5 games and a Bronze Medal. Lambos and Gould have also started strong for Rink Hockey Academy, with Gould taking over the starting goalie role and winning 3 of his 4 starts.
Tyus Gent and Elan Bar-Lev-Wise have been the two most promising prospects for the Royals so far in this young season. Gent plays a little closer to home for the Delta Hockey Academy, putting up 24 points in 12 games with 11 goals to help them start with 10 wins in their first 12 games. Bar-Lev-Wise captains the Burnaby Winter Club side who have gone undefeated in their first 10 games thanks to his 14 points in 9 games.
The Royals seem to have made a few smart drafting decisions after looking at this list of prospects and seeing how successful they have been so far. However, it is only the beginning of the season for these kids, and the fact that a player is lighting up the Elite 15s or Midget Prep Divisions doesn’t necessarily translate into Western Hockey League success. Having a lot of their draft picks playing in the same league makes it much easier to keep tabs on the future of the Royals franchise, because offensive numbers do not tell the whole story. But if they did, then the future is bright for the Victoria Royals draft picks from 2016 and 2017.