Another year, another round of Yellowknife players getting the phone call they’ve been waiting for.
Logan Cunningham was the first to get picked by Spokane Chiefs after being selected in the third round, 59th overall, of the Western Hockey League’s bantam draft yesterday.
It was an exciting morning for his dad, Al Cunningham, who said the draft position was about where he was told it would be.
“We had heard from some hockey people that he would be going somewhere between the third and fifth rounds,” he said. “But we’re just totally thrilled and it just goes to show that our kids up here in Yellowknife can be successful and can get noticed.”
Even more amazing about the pick was that the Chiefs never even got in touch with the family before drafting him, a blind pick of sorts.
“I had spoken with Seattle (Thunderbirds) and Tri-City (Americans) but we never heard a thing from Spokane,” said the elder Cunningham. “We had been talking quite a bit with teams like Prince Albert (Raiders) and Swift Current (Broncos) but nothing from Spokane at all.”
The younger Cunningham spent this past season playing with the Yukon Rivermen bantam team which played in B.C. and his dad said that was a big plus.
“The Rivermen program was big for the kids this year,” he said. “There were some growing pains but it’s all fixable and I hope some other kids here in town get that chance to play as well. You get exposed to scouts from all over and that’s big.”
Carter McLeod was next to get the call as he was picked by the Moose Jaw Warriors in the eighth round, 170th overall. McLeod played with the Edge School in Calgary, where he put up 18 points in 30 games with the school’s bantam prep team.
Brad Anstey, president of Hockey NWT, knows both boys well and said he’s not surprised that both boys got picked.
“It’s a great honour but I’m not shocked,” he said. “Logan had been talking with lots of teams and the feedback I had been getting was he would get picked in the third (round).”
As for McLeod, Anstey said the big thing was his ability to set him apart from other players like him.
“Players like Carter come around all the time but the big thing is those who get drafted manage to have something others don’t,” he said. “You take a look at Sam Schofield and the way he plays and that’s almost like Carter. You can score all you want but you have to stand out.”