Seattle Thunderbirds have signed defenseman Kevin Korchinski to a Western Hockey League standard player agreement with the team.
Korchinski, from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, was selected in the first round, 10th overall, in the 2019 Bantam Draft on May 2 in Red Deer, Alberta. The T-Birds acquired the 10th overall selection from the Kelowna Rockets in a trade prior to the pick.
“We feel Kevin has the potential to be a top pairing defenseman,” general manager Bil La Forge said Friday. “We love the way he skates and handles the puck.”
“Kevin has the potential to support the excellent forwards we have in our system. He is another building block in place for the future of the T-Birds.”
Korchinski had 10 goals and 37 assists in 31 games for the Saskatoon Generals last season.
“I’m very thankful and happy to be part of the organization,” Korchinski said. “This is just the start as I have to keep training and putting in the work to be ready to play at the WHL level.
“My parents and I ran through all the options for my hockey development, and we felt that the T-Birds were my best option,” Korchinski said. “I have heard nothing but great things about the organization, fans, coaches and city of Kent.”
Korchinski and center Jordan Gustafson were selected in the first round of the daft. Gustafson, from Ardrossan, Alberta, signed with the T-Birds on Wednesday.
Gustafson played for the Fort Saskatchewan Rangers Bantam AAA team in the AMBHL last season, scoring 31 goals and distributing 39 assists in 33 games.
By signing WHL standard player agreements, Korchinski and Gustafson are guaranteed WHL scholarships for every year they play in the league. A player is able to attend any career-enhancing institution of his choice, including universities, colleges, technical institutes, trade schools, or any other institution that will help the player achieve his academic and career goals.
For each season played in the WHL, a player receives a one-year post-secondary scholarship, which includes tuition, compulsory fees and required textbooks.