Three mid-island products taken in the WHL Draft

By Aaron Schulze
May 3, 2018 - 6:08pm Updated: May 3, 2018 - 7:13pm

Ben Coghlan was the only Nanaimo born player selected in the 2018 WHL Bantam DraftCSSHL/Twitter

Nanaimo and Oceanside Minor Hockey had a strong showing in the 2018 Western Hockey League (WHL) Bantam Draft.

Ben Coghlan is following his cousin Dylan's footsteps, as he was selected in the sixth round by the Tri-City Americans.

Dylan, a defenseman who signed a three-year entry-level contract with the Vegas Golden Knights in September, was a third round pick of Tri-City in 2013 before going on to play four seasons with the Americans.

 

Barclay Parneta, the head scout and assistant general manager for Tri-City, said if Ben's character and personality is similar to Dylan's, it'll be great for his team.

"I (jokingly) told Dylan that we watched his cousin play," Parneta said. "I didn't actually realize until later on in the year that they actually were cousins."

Parneta said Ben is a hard working, defensively responsibe player who could at least play on the third line in the WHL, while having an upside in terms of skill which could eventually see him on a first line.

When asked if he was concerned about his size, Parneta told NanaimoNewsNOW every player grows differently, noting Dylan was 5'8" when he first saw him. He's now 6'1".

"We're drafting 14-year-old kids," Parneta said. "Size is important but it's not the determining factor of how good a player can be. At the end of the day the kids that are successful are going to succeed on their own because they do it themselves."

At this point, Parneta suggested all Coghlan can do to improve in general is play and focus on training.

Meanwhile, two friends who grew up playing in Oceanside ended up getting drafted in the same class.

The Edmonton Oil Kings selected Kobe Verbicky of Bowser with the first pick in the second round and Cage Newans of Parksville was taken in the seventh round by the Victoria Royals.

 

Sports roundup from a busy May weekend