Moose Jaw, SK — The Moose Jaw Warriors made 10 selections during the 2023 WHL Prospects Draft on Thursday.
Moose Jaw added five forwards and five defencemen to its prospects pool over the course of 12 rounds.
“It’s an exciting day for us, in our first two picks, we were able to get two players that we had rated in the first round this year,” Warriors general manager Jason Ripplinger said.
“It was a good balance this year, you usually don’t pick that many defencemen, but we went off our board and they’re quality defencemen.”
In the first round, the Warriors grabbed five-foot-11 defenceman Aaron Sawatzky from the Airdrie Xtreme U15 AAA team with the 16th overall selection.
The Didsbury, AB product had ten goals and 38 points in 33 games with the Xtreme during the 2022-23 season.
“His skating ability, his hockey sense, and his first pass, that’s very important to us,” Ripplinger said.
Sawatzky joins Marek Howell in 2021 and Connor Schmidt in 2022 as defencemen selected by the Warriors in the first round in the past three drafts.
“We always like to build from the back end out and when you the puck and can get the puck out of our own end and into their end, it’s a lot easier for everybody,” Ripplinger said.
In the second round, the Warriors stayed on the defensive side of the puck for the 38th overall pick and selected five-foot-11 defenceman William Degagne from the Saskatoon Generals U15 AA team.
Degagne finished with 13 goals and 35 points in 30 games with the Generals during the 2022-23 season. He also added two goals and five points in three playoff games.
With their third-round pick, the Warriors picked up a homegrown talent with five-foot-nine forward Carson Deichert from the Moose Jaw Warriors U15 AA team.
Deichert finished with 21 goals and 58 points in 28 games with the U15 AA Warriors this season.
He also had a goal and four points in four games while playing up an age group with the U18 AA Warriors.
“It’s always nice to get a quality local player in a small community like Moose Jaw,” Ripplinger said. “It’s good for him, good for his family and we’re excited to see where he goes.”
The Warriors selected five-foot-11 forward Tyson Schamehorn in the fourth round with the 82nd overall pick.
The North Saanich, BC product finished with 11 goals, 28 points, and 44 penalty minutes in 26 games with the Okanagan Hockey Academy Penticton U15 Prep team this season.
In the eighth round, the Warriors went to Manitoba for the first time in the draft and took five-foot-11 forward Ben Dnes with the 170th overall pick.
Dnes scored 16 goals and 43 points in 33 games with the Winnipeg Bruins Gold U15 AAA team this season. He also added two goals and three points in three playoff games.
Moose Jaw had two picks in the ninth round and selected five-foot-11 defenceman Benson Hirst with the 181st overall pick.
The Lac Du Bonnet, MB product posted over a point-per-game with the Pilot Mound Hockey Academy’s U15 Prep team, finishing with eight goals and 28 points in 27 games. He also had 74 penalty minutes.
With the second pick in the ninth round, the Warriors added five-foot-11 forward Davey Fisher from the Saskatoon Generals U15 AA team with the 192nd overall pick.
Fisher, a Saskatoon product, put up 28 goals and 58 points in 30 games with the Generals this season.
In the tenth round, the Warriors added another Saskatchewan product when they picked six-foot defenceman William Chabot from the Notre Dame Hounds U15 Prep team.
The Nipawin, SK product had four goals and 14 points in 26 games with the Hounds this season.
The Warriors used their 11th-round pick on five-foot-eight forward Riley Thorpe from the St. Albert Sabres U15 AAA team.
The St. Albert, AB product posted 27 goals and 49 points in 33 games with the Sabres during the 2022-23 season.
Moose Jaw’s final pick of the draft came in the 12th round when the team selected five-foot-eight defenceman Dylan Deets from the Edge School U15 Prep team.
Deets, a Calgary, AB product, picked up four goals and 26 points in 29 games with the Edge School this season.
All ten players are expected to be in Moose Jaw for training camp at the end of August.