Popowich, Burzan taken early in WHL draft

Ten local hockey players taken in annual bantam draft

Surrey native Tyler Popowich of the Okanagan Hockey Academy was selected third overall by the Vancouver Giants in the Western Hockey League's Bantam Draft.

Surrey native Tyler Popowich of the Okanagan Hockey Academy was selected third overall by the Vancouver Giants in the Western Hockey League's Bantam Draft.

Two players from Surrey were among the top 10 selections in Thursday’s Western Hockey League Bantam Draft.

Tyler Popowich of the Okanagan Hockey Academy (OHA) was selected third overall by the Vancouver Giants.

The six-foot-four, 190-pound centre from Surrey played at the Burnaby Winter Club until joining the OHA early in the 2013-14 season, his first in the Bantam division. This past season, Popowich scored 25 goals and 57 points in 47 games played.

At the BC Cup Male U16 tournament last month in Salmon Arm, Popowich tallied six goals and added an assist in six games played.

“Tyler is a big centre with tons of upside,” said Giants executive vice-president/general manager Scott Bonner in a statement. “He competes, scores and makes plays. The last big centre we had as an organization was James Wright, and that draft class of players born in 1990 was highly successful. We’re excited to welcome Tyler to the hockey club.”

Luka Burzan of the North Shore Winter Club (NSWC) was claimed sixth overall by the Moose Jaw Warriors.

Burzan played with Surrey MHA’s Tier 1 Bantam team in the 2013-14 season, then joined the North Shore Winter Club just prior to this past season.

A six-foot, 165-pound forward, Burzan ranked second in scoring at the Western Canada Bantam Championship in Winnipeg with 10 points (four goals, six assists) in five games played. The NSWC Winter Hawks went 3-1-1 (won-lost-tied) to win the championship.

Burzan had 65 goals and 108 points in 52 games with the Winter Hawks. At the BC Cup, where he was a teammate of Popowich, he scored six times and assisted on six other goals.

“For us, he was the best forward in the draft,” said Warriors general manager Alan Millar.

“We just think that he’s a very complete player – skilled, skates very well and will be able to produce offence for our hockey club and be able to play both ways as well.”

The draft, which allows WHL teams to select 15 year-olds who have completed their final season in the Bantam (14-15 year-old) division, had eight other local players selected.

The first pick of the third round, 45th overall, was Surrey’s Matthew Mosher. A member of the Semiahmoo Minor Hockey Association until joining the Delta Hockey Academy in Ladner for this past season, Mosher was chosen by the Saskatoon Blades.

The Prince George Cougars took Tyler Ho of Surrey with the 66th selection.

Ho played in the Surrey Minor Hockey Association before moving over to the NSWC for his second season in the Bantam division.

He scored four goals and eight points in five games played at the Western Canada Bantam Championship, then totalled three goals and six points at the B.C. Cup.

White Rock’s Kabir Gill, also a North Shore Winter Club member, went to the Seattle Thunderbirds in the fifth round, 103rd overall.

Justyn Gurney of North Delta was claimed 117th overall in the sixth round by the Calgary Hitmen.

South Surrey’s Ethan Scardina of the Delta Hockey Academy was the 121st selection in the sixth round by the Everett Silvertips.

Burnaby Winter Club member Ilijah Colina of North Delta was the171st pick, taken by the Portland Winterhawks in the eighth round.

Delta native Owen Williams of Notre Dame hockey program in Saskatchewan was drafted by the Regina Pats, 190th overall in the ninth round.

Delta Hockey Academy member Jack Judson of South Surrey was chosen by the Vancouver Giants 201st overall in the 10th round.

Surrey North Delta Leader