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Prince George Cougars ink top two 2019 bantam draft picks

Keaton Dowhaniuk, Koehn Ziemmer were taken by the Cats third and fourth overall
Dowhaniuk Ziemmer - OHA Edmonton
Prince George Cougars took Keaton Dowhaniuk (left) and Koehn Ziemmer in the first round of the 2019 WHL Bantam Draft (via OHA Edmonton/Kyle Balzer)

The future of the Prince George Cougars has put pen to paper.

The first two picks made by the Cougars at the 2019 Western Hockey League (WHL) Bantam Draft, Keaton Dowhaniuk and Koehn Ziemmer, have each signed a standard player agreement and making them ‘black aces’ for their new team.

Essentially, the agreement provides a lot of perks for the third and fourth overall picks, including training with Prince George, travelling with the team on road trips, and ensure a full guaranteed scholarship for every year they play in the WHL, among others.

“We are thrilled to have these two in the fold,” said General Manager & Head Coach Mark Lamb in a team release. “We are in a development cycle that is trending upwards and these two will be key pieces to the core of our team that we feel will be very competitive in the coming years.”

Dowhaniuk, a defenceman from Sherwood Park, Alberta, was named the top blueliner in the Canadian Sport School Hockey League (CSSHL) with OHA Edmonton, scoring 34 points that included 27 assists. 

“You always look at increasing your skill level on the back end and we feel like Keaton checks off all the boxes we were looking for,” said Cougars Director of Scouting Bob Simmonds after making the selection at the draft back in May. “Puck-moving, plays hard, offensive driver, plays a lot of minutes, and we’re looking forward to having him in our organization. The game is fast, it’s a quick transition game. You have to get the puck up to the forwards quickly. Keaton can play that style and that’s the way we want our team to play.”

Ziemmer, a forward from Mayerthorpe, Alberta, was Dowhaniuk’s teammate on OHA Edmonton and put on a scoring clinic with 76 points (37 goals, 39 assists) in just 29 games.

“His offensive skill is what stood out,” Simmonds added following Ziemmer’s pick. “He has great hands that allow him to score. We wanted to increase our skill level at all of our positions and certainly, Koehn does that at the forward position.”

These two players will report to Cougars training camp, Aug. 23 to 26, ahead of the 2019-20 season.