The six Seattle Thunderbirds taken in the 2023 NHL Draft. COURTESY IMAGE, Seattle Thunderbirds

The six Seattle Thunderbirds taken in the 2023 NHL Draft. COURTESY IMAGE, Seattle Thunderbirds

Six Kent-based Thunderbird players taken in 2023 NHL Draft

Forward Nico Myatovic highest T-Bird pick at 33rd overall; taken by Anaheim Ducks

Six players from the Kent-based Seattle Thunderbirds were chosen in the 2023 NHL Draft, the most of any team in the Western Hockey League (WHL).

The Anaheim Ducks took 18-year-old forward Nico Myatovic with the first pick of the second round, the 33rd overall pick. The draft was hosted June 28-29 at the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Tennessee. No T-Birds were taken in the first round.

Forward Gracyn Sawchyn, 18, went to the Florida Panthers in the second round with the 63rd overall pick. The Vancouver Canucks took defenseman Sawyer Mynio, 18, in the third round with the 89th pick.

Seattle goalies Scott Ratzlaff, 18, and Thomas Milic, 20, each were drafted in the fifth round. The Buffalo Sabres took Ratzlaff at 141st and the Winnipeg Jets chose Milic with the 151st pick.

Defenseman Jeremy Hanzel, 20, went in the sixth round to the Colorado Avalanche with the 187th selection.

All six players were part of the T-Birds WHL Championship team that advanced to the Memorial Cup, where they lost in the title game to the Quebec Remparts.

The T-Birds, who play their home games at the accesso ShoWare Center in Kent, already had 10 players on the 2022-2023 team that had been drafted. This draft boosted that number to 16.

Anaheim assistant general manager Martin Madden gave his thoughts to AnaheimDucks.com about Myatovic, who had 30 goals and 30 assists in the regular season in 68 games. He had four goals and three assists in 19 playoff games.

“We’ve loved Nico from last year,” Madden said. “Really, really good hockey sense and applies it in different ways. He’s a support player for good players. He did it on a elite Seattle team this year. He does all the little things right and he has the skill to be able to produce in front of the net. So he makes plays, but mostly he’s an elite support player, somebody who can get pucks for first and second line players.

“He’s somebody who’s the first on the backcheck and somebody who’s always in the goalie’s face. He’s a culture guy, an unbelievable kid who is mature beyond his years with lots of room to grow and get stronger and faster.”

Myatovic looks forward to joining Anaheim.

“I’m super excited,” Myatovic said in a press conference after his selection. “I’ve never been to California in my life so I’m excited to get down there and see what’s it like. And I can’t wait to join this young, exciting core that they have going on here.”

But prior to joining the Ducks in the NHL, Myatovic knows he will take on an even bigger role next season with the T-Birds, who will lose a number of their top players who will be older than the age limit of 20.

“I’ll be relied up heavily in all situations of the game,” Myatovic said. “I’m ready for that and my style of game will suit that very well and I can’t wait to take on that role.”

T-Birds 2023 NHL Draft picks

Round Two

• 33rd pick: Nico Myatovic (F) – Anaheim Ducks

• 63rd pick: Gracyn Sawchyn (F) – Florida Panthers

Round Threee

• 89th pick: Sawyer Mynio (D) – Vancouver Canucks

Round Five

• 141st pick: Scott Ratzlaff (G) – Buffalo Sabres

• 151st pick: Thomas Milic (G) – Winnipeg Jets

Round Six

• 187th pick: Jeremy Hanzel (D) – Colorado Avalanche


Talk to us

Please share your story tips by emailing editor@kentreporter.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.kentreporter.com/submit-letter/. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) Please keep letters to 300 words or less.

The Anaheim Ducks took forward Nico Myatovic, of the Seattle Thunderbirds, with the first pick of the second round of the NHL Draft. COURTESY PHOTO, Brian Liesse, Seattle Thunderbirds

The Anaheim Ducks took forward Nico Myatovic, of the Seattle Thunderbirds, with the first pick of the second round of the NHL Draft. COURTESY PHOTO, Brian Liesse, Seattle Thunderbirds

More in Sports

Photos by Ben Ray / The Reporter
Jaylen Petty drives against Lincoln inside the Tacoma Dome.
Two-time NPSL MVP to leave Auburn High School for Rainier Beach

Jaylen Petty will play his last high school season as a Viking in Seattle.

Skylar Diggins-Smith conducts the offense against the Sparks. Ben Ray / The Reporter
Storm pour it on in the fourth, wash out Sparks

Seattle used a huge 10-0 run late in the fourth to take control over Los Angeles.

Federal Way Memorial Field. Photo provided by Bruce Honda
Federal Way Memorial Field to host high school boys soccer tournaments

Class 2A, 1A competitions to move to Federal Way from Renton for 2025 to 2028

Kentwood and Kentridge players go at it for possession. Ben Ray / The Reporter
NPSL All-League Soccer Teams: Kentwood’s Logan Hasting is POTY

Other Kent School District athletes make the list.

Photo provided by Rodney McCurry.
Seattle Majestics play in postseason

Seattles women’s tackle football team goes to Las Vegas to open up the playoffs.

Gabby Greenwood gives a yell after her home run against Graham-Kapowsin. Ben Ray / The Reporter
Kentwood falls in district championship, named five seed for state tournament

Kentridge makes second day of district tournament for first time since 2016.

Matthew Ledbetter leads off the game in the first inning at Sherman Anderson Field. Ben Ray / The Reporter
Kentlake baseball eliminated in Mount Vernon

Falcons fall 9-3 to third-seeded Bulldogs.

Christopher Moore went six strong innings against Stanwood. Ben Ray / The Reporter
Kentlake blanks Stanwood 5-0 in state tournament opening round

Falcons win behind solid performance from Christopher Moore.

Sarah Wright struck out 17 and allowed just two hits against Kentridge. Ben Ray / The Reporter
Kentwood fastpitch wins fourth straight league title

Wright and Conks down Kentridge 7-0 with 17Ks and 2RBI at the plate.

Brock England. COURTESY PHOTO, Canadian Sport School Hockey League
Kent-based Thunderbirds load up on Western Hockey League draft picks

Eleven players taken in Prospects Draft; two in U.S. Priority Draft, both from Dallas team

T20 World Cup trophy waits for fans to take photos. Ben Ray / The Reporter
Seattle Orcas, ‘America’s Favorite Cricket Team,’ builds local support

Event held at Bellevue Downtown Park can be catalyst for the world’s second most popular sport.

Ethan Loghry on the bump pitched a gem for the Falcons. Ben Ray / The Reporter
Kentlake baseball stays alive with a walk-off win

Falcons move on to winner-to-state game.