The North Okanagan Knights added three players to its roster as the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League (KIJHL) held a dispersal draft Saturday, Sept. 5. The draft was held in order for the league’s 17 active teams to select players from the 100 Mile House Wranglers, Beaver Valley Nitehawks and Spokane Braves.
The Wranglers and Nitehawks opted out over COVID-19 while the Braves are an American-based team unable to travel to Canada due to restrictions.
Canadian players who completed the previous season with 100 Mile House, Beaver Valley or Spokane and have remaining junior hockey eligibility were available for selection. Also, players who competed at the junior A level in 2019/20, but whose KIJHL rights are held by one of those three clubs, were eligible.
Due to the restrictions currently in place surrounding cross-border travel, American players were not eligible to be selected.
The draft order occurred in reverse order of the KIJHL’s 2019/20 regular-season standings, with the Osoyoos Coyotes having the first overall selection. The Coyotes chose forward Zachary Park from the Nitehawks.
With the No. 2 selection, the Grand Forks Border Bruins selected goaltender Jordan Wilde from the Wranglers.
The Knights had the third pick of the opening round and chose forward Quinn Mulder from 100 Mile House before flipping him to the Sicamous Eagles in exchange for forward Owen Spannier of Lake Country.
Mulder, 19, from Terrace, played in 48 games with the Wranglers, scoring 10 goals and adding 23 assists for 33 points to go along with 30 penalty minutes. Mulder is 6-foot-1 and 185 pounds. He had one assist in the Wranglers’ seven playoff games before the 2019-20 post-season was shut down due to COVID-19.
Spannier, 18, played in a few games for the Knights as an affiliate player in 2018-19 before joining the Eagles. The 6-foot-3, 200-pound forward had nine goals and 15 assists for 24 points and 77 penalty minutes with Sicamous last season.
North Okanagan selected two other players from the Wranglers in the dispersal draft.
In the second round, they picked defenceman Logan Gooder-Zimmer, 19, a 5-foot-10, 155-pound blueliner from Olds, Alta. Gooder-Zimmer had a goal and an assist in 40 games with 100 Mile House, and added an assist in seven playoff games.
With their final pick, the Knights chose defenceman Jarrett Blaase, 18, from Sooke, in the third round. Blaase played in only eight games with the Wranglers last season. He had four assists, and only appeared in one playoff game.
Prior to Saturday’s draft, the Knights dealt veteran defenceman Lee Christensen to the Princeton Posse for a player development fee.
Christensen, 18, from Vernon, played two full seasons with North Okanagan. He appeared in 61 regular-season games for the Knights, compiling six goals – all of them in the 2019-20 season – and 16 assists for 22 points.
The KIJHL announced Thursday, Sept. 3, that it will open its 30-game regular-season Nov. 13.
The Knights will hold a player identification camp Sept. 11-13 at the Sicamous Recreation Centre. The camp is open to players born from 2000 to 2005.
Registration is available at firstname.lastname@example.org.