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Seattle Thunderbirds to get first pick in Bantam Draft | Hockey

The Seattle Thunderbirds will pick first in the May 3 Bantam Draft of the Western Hockey League. - Kent Reporter, file photo
The Seattle Thunderbirds will pick first in the May 3 Bantam Draft of the Western Hockey League.
— image credit: Kent Reporter, file photo

The Seattle Thunderbirds junior hockey team missed the Western Hockey League playoffs for the third straight season. But the Kent-based team will select first in the league's Bantam Draft on May 3.

Seattle's lucky ball came out first in the Bantam Draft lottery Wednesday at the WHL office in Calgary, Alberta to determine the first six selections.

The lottery involved the six non-playoff teams (Prince Albert, Prince George, Seattle, Lethbridge, Swift Current and Red Deer) from the 2011-12 season.

Seattle finished ninth in the Western Conference, where eight of the 10 teams advance to the playoffs.

“It is exciting for our team to win the lottery and have a chance to add a potential superstar to our team,” said T-Birds general manager Russ Farwell in a media release. “When you look back over the last few years at former number one picks like Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Quinton Howden, Jared Cowen and Colton Teubert all developing into NHL first round picks and with Derrick Pouliott being rated to go in the first round this year, it is an exciting day for our team and our fans to have the possibility to add this kind of player.

"We look forward to working through the next month of bantam camps and ranking the players in this year’s draft. We have three picks in the top 25 this year so draft day is going to be a very exciting day for our organization.”

Players eligible for the 2012 WHL Bantam Draft will be 1997-born players who reside in Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Northwest Territories, Yukon, Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Kansas, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Washington and Wyoming.

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