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Prince George Cougars win 2020 WHL Bantam Draft Lottery, claim second overall pick

Cats continue momentum even after cancelled season

The Prince George Cougars will have the second overall pick at this year's Western Hockey League (WHL) Bantam Draft.

The team's selection ball was chosen as the winner of the 2020 lottery this morning (March 25) via live stream at the league's head office in Calgary.

WHL Vice-President of Hockey Richard Doerksen announced Prince George's jump from fourth to second as a result of the draw, marking the second straight year they'll have at least one of the top five picks.

According to league lottery rules, the team who wins can only move up two positions in the draft.

The Cougars had three balls in the pool, giving them a 14 per cent chance of winning, based on their fourth-last finish in the 2019-20 league standings by virtue of the shortened season due to COVID-19.

"We’re ecstatic, there’s so many good players at the top of this draft class," said Head Coach and General Manager Mark Lamb in a team release.

"To move up to second overall and select an elite talent is very gratifying and great for our organization."

The Cougars will pick three times in the first round of the 2020 bantam draft; second, 17th and 22nd.

Last year, Prince George had the second pick as well, but traded it to the Winnipeg Ice, giving them the third and fourth selections and the chance to nab OHA Edmonton teammates Keaton Dowhaniuk and Koehn Ziemmer.

The Cougars picked 10 total players during the 2019 draft, including three from B.C., six from Alberta and one from Saskatchewan.

Prince George also had the third pick in the 2018 draft, but traded it to Prince Albert in exchange for Rhett Rhinehart, Austin Crossley and the ninth overall selection, to which Craig Armstrong's name was called and just completed his rookie campaign this year.

The 2020 WHL Bantam Draft is slated for April 22 and will be conducted online due to COVID-19 concerns.

Today's lottery selection process was performed by Bennett Huber from KPMG.




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Kyle  Balzer

About the Author: Kyle Balzer

Kyle Balzer graduated with distinction from BCIT's Broadcast & Online Journalism program in 2016. Since moving to Prince George, he has covered a variety of stories from education & Indigenous relations, to community interests & sports.
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