Three Ban­tam Bron­cos drafted by Spokane Chiefs

Southwest Booster - - FRONT PAGE - STEVEN MAH SOUTH­WEST BOOSTER

At least one West­ern Hockey League team was im­pressed with the Swift Cur­rent Ka­bos Ban­tam Bron­cos this past sea­son. The Spokane Chiefs se­lected three mem­bers of the pro­vin­cial cham­pi­ons in Thurs­day’s WHL Ban­tam Draft.

Swift Cur­rent’s Mac Gross was the first South­west player drafted in the draft. The 6’1.5’’ de­fense­man was taken 50th over­all by the Spokane Chiefs in the third round.

“I was just kind of go­ing in with an open mind, just hop­ing for the best hon­estly,” he said.

“They are a good or­ga­ni­za­tion,” said Gross of the Chiefs. “They work re­ally well with ev­ery­one. It is just a proud day.”

Gross posted seven goals, 12 as­sists, and 28 penalty min­utes in 19 games for the Swift Cur­rent Bron­cos in the Saskatchewan Ban­tam AA Hockey League reg­u­lar sea­son. He added eight points in 10 play­off games while help­ing the Bron­cos to their first league cham­pi­onship.

Gross broke his wrist in mid Jan­uary and missed a sig­nif­i­cant por­tion of the sea­son be­fore re­turn­ing to help lead the Bron­cos on a long play­off run.

“It was a good year. Af­ter I got back from that in­jury I re­ally just el­e­vated my game, just kept get­ting bet­ter as the games went on. The hard work paid off.”

He was also named the Most Sports­man­like Player at the West­ern Canada Ban­tam AAA Cham­pi­onship in War­man to con­clude the sea­son.

The next lo­cal player se­lected was cap­tain Reed Ja­cob­son, who was also cho­sen by the Chiefs in the sixth round, 115th over­all.

“It’s pretty cool,” said Ja­cob­son. “It’s a pretty cool feel­ing. I was sit­ting in class and I looked at my phone and my name popped up and I was ex­cited. I am ex­cited to see what the fu­ture brings.”

Ja­cob­son fin­ished fifth in league scor­ing with 39 goals and 70 points in 29 reg­u­lar sea­son games. He added nine goals and five as­sists in nine play­off games while lead­ing the Bron­cos to their first league cham­pi­onship. He also had a goal and an as­sist in four games at Westerns.

“We had a good sea­son,” said Ja­cob­son. “We had lots of suc­cess. To­wards the end of the sea­son we played as a team and just per­se­vered through hard­ships, got to the pro­vin­cial fi­nal and showed ev­ery­one what we were made of and made it to Westerns.”

“We had a good team from camp,” added Gross. “Ev­ery­body bought in to what Trent [head coach Trent Mccleary] was telling us. We re­ally worked hard through­out the whole sea­son. The work paid off in the end by win­ning the league and go­ing to Westerns.”

Ja­cob­son also ap­peared in four reg­u­lar sea­son games with the Swift Cur­rent Home Hard­ware Le­gion­naires in the Saskatchewan Mid­get AAA Hockey League.

“I felt I had a pretty good sea­son, led the guys and tried to do the best that I could lead­ing by ex­am­ple on and off the ice.”

Gross was ex­cited to learn that his friend and team­mate was also drafted by the Chiefs.

“It just makes it bet­ter to have a fa­mil­iar face when you are at camp. We are good bud­dies so it is go­ing to be fun.”

Gross said that plenty of peo­ple helped him along the way to get­ting drafted into the WHL.

“My team­mates helped a lot. I have had some good coaches in the past cou­ple years, like Todd Hor­nung, Trent Mccleary, Dar­ren Ev­jen. My par­ents, they have pushed me through­out my whole career and I just can’t thank them enough.”

Ja­cob­son thanked his fam­ily for help­ing him and push­ing him through ob­sta­cles to reach this level. He also noted the con­tri­bu­tions of his friends and team­mates in his hockey career.

The Chiefs added to their col­lec­tion of Swift Cur­rent prod­ucts in the sev­enth round when they took de­fense­man Hen­drik de Klerk 138th over­all. The skilled blue­liner was third in team scor­ing with 30 points in as many reg­u­lar sea­son games. He added four points in 10 play­off games.

“I am just re­ally thank­ful,” said de Klerk mo­ments af­ter be­ing drafted. “I am happy. They seem like they are a re­ally good hockey club and I am ex­cited to go there.”

de Klerk was the third Swift Cur­rent Ban­tam Bronco drafted by the Spokane Chiefs Thurs­day.

“I thought our sea­son went re­ally well,” said de Klerk of the Bron­cos’ pro­vin­cial cham­pi­onship sea­son. “I thought our team bonded to­gether re­ally well. Ev­ery­one worked hard and I thought that’s what helped us cre­ate suc­cess.”

“I thought it went re­ally good,” he said of his sea­son. “I thought I pro­gressed as the sea­son went on and that kind of helped me com­ing to­wards the draft.”

“Ob­vi­ously my par­ents helped me a lot, tak­ing lots of hours to come to the games and mak­ing lots of road trips. My coaches through­out the years have re­ally helped me. Prob­a­bly my team­mates too, gotta in­clude them in there, they helped me lots,” he added.

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