Dynamic Edge trained Lake Country hockey player Tij Iginla has been picked by the Seattle Thunderbirds. (Contributed)

Lake Country’s Iginla among 15 WHL Okanagan picks

Tij Iginla goes in first round of WHL Prospects Draft, one of numerous Okanagan-Shuswap players picked

His Hockey Hall of Fame father went undrafted in the annual Western Hockey League’s bantam draft selection.

So, in essence, Tij Iginla is one up on dad, Jarome.

Lake Country’s Tij was taken in the first round, ninth overall, of the 2021 WHL Prospects Draft Thursday, Dec. 9, by the Seattle Thunderbirds. Tij is coached by his dad – the former Kamloops Blazers, Calgary Flames and Team Canada Olympics stalwart – at Kelowna’s Rink Hockey Academy U18 Prep team.

The junior Iginla is a 5-foot-10, 150 pound 15-year-old forward with Rink Academy. The elder Iginla was inducted into the Hall of Fame last month.

Iginla’s teammate Ryder Ritchie of Kelowna was taken 14th overall by the Prince Albert Raiders.

The Spokane Chiefs had the first overall pick and went with 5-foot-11, 155-pound centre Berkly Catton of the Saskatoon Contacts U18 AAA team.

Jordan Gavin of Surrey, and the Delta Hockey Academy U17 Prep team, a 5-foot-11, 143-pound centre, was chosen second overall by the Tri-City Americans.

It was a huge day for Kelowna/West Kelowna players and for hockey academies in the Central and South Okanagan.

Seven Kelowna players were selected, as were two each from West Kelowna and Lake Country, and one player each from Vernon, Salmon Arm and Penticton. All were selected by the eighth of 14 rounds in the draft.

Rink Hockey Academy’s U18 Prep team had a staggering nine players picked in the draft, along with two from its U16 Prep squad. Penticton’s Okanagan Hockey Academy’s U17 Prep Black team had four players taken, and there was one selection from the academy’s U16 Prep Team.

The Okanagan Rockets had one player selected from each of its U18 AAA and U17 AAA squads, and the B.C. Hockey League’s West Kelowna Warriors had one player chosen.

OKANAGAN-SHUSWAP SELECTIONS (name, overall selection, round chosen, WHL team selection, current team, hometown):

• Tij Iginla – 1st, 9th, Seattle Thunderbirds, Rink Hockey Academy U18 Prep, Lake Country

• Ryder Ritchie – 1st, 14th, Prince Albert Raiders, Rink Hockey Academy U18 Prep, Kelowna

• Maddix McCagherty – 22nd, 25th, Swift Current Broncos, Rink Hockey Academy U18 Prep, Kelowna

• Lynden Lakovic – 2nd, 27th, Moose Jaw Warriors, West Van Warriors U18 Prep, West Kelowna

• Hunter Laing – 2nd, 33rd, Prince George Cougars, Rink Hockey Academy U16 Prep, Kelowna

• Jesse Sanche – 2nd, 42nd, Kamloops Blazers, Okanagan Hockey Academy U17 Prep Black, Kelowna

• Seth Tansem – 2nd, 43rd, Prince Albert, Rink Hockey Academy U18 Prep, Kelowna

• Nathan Mayes – 3rd, 51st, Spokane Chiefs, Yale Hockey Academy U17 Prep, Salmon Arm

• Evan Gardner – 3rd, 53rd, Saskatoon Blades, Rink Hockey Academy U18 Prep, Lake Country

• Cole Wadsworth – 4th, 73rd, Spokane, Okanagan Hockey Academy U17 Prep Black, Penticton

• Ethan Merner – 4th, 80th, Calgary Hitmen, Yale Hockey Academy U17 Prep, Kelowna

• Ethan Mackenzie – 4th, 82nd, Edmonton Oil Kings, Rink Hockey Academy U16 Prep, West Kelowna

• Tyson Matthews – 6th, 128th, Prince George, Okanagan Rockets U17AAA, Vernon

• Tyson Jugnauth – 7th, 147th, Kamloops Blazers, West Kelowna Warriors {BCHL}, Richmond

• Kaslo Ferner – 7th, 151st, Regina Pats, Okanagan Rockets U18 AAA, Kelowna

The entire draft list can be found here.

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