NORTH Shore hockey fans will be watching this weekend's NHL draft with particular interest as four young phenoms from North and West Vancouver are slated to go in the early rounds, possibly all in the first round.
West Vancouver defencemen Griffin Reinhart and Morgan Rielly lead the way. Both graduates of the minor hockey program at Hollyburn Country Club, Reinhart and Rielly were each ranked in the top 10 amongst North American skaters in NHL Central Scouting's final rankings this spring. While draft prognosticating can be dangerous business, most experts have the two defencemen going in the top 15 at the draft, possibly even both in the top 10.
Rielly missed much of the 2011-12 season with a torn ACL but returned in time to rejoin the Moose Jaw Warriors in the playoffs and put in a strong showing at the NHL draft combine. Reinhart, meanwhile, helped the Edmonton Oil Kings win the Western Hockey League title to make the Memorial Cup tournament.
Not too many notches down the draft boards are a couple of North Vancouver players. Forward Colton Sissons of the Kelowna Rockets is ranked 14th overall amongst North American skaters and defenceman Dalton Thrower of the Saskatoon Blades is ranked 26th. Both Thrower and Sissons played at the North Shore Winter Club where they locked horns with the Hollyburn boys with local bragging rights on the line.
Sissons, Kelowna's captain who finished the season with 41 points in 58 games, is the top-ranked WHL forward by Central Scouting. Thrower was eighth amongst WHL defencemen in scoring with 54 points in 66 games for the Blades.
Other potential North Shore draft picks include West Vancouver's Alexander Kerfoot of the BCHL's Coquitlam Express who is ranked 165th for North American skaters and North Vancouver's Brady Brassart of the WHL's Calgary Hitmen who is ranked 181st.
TSN will broadcast round 1 of the draft live Friday night starting at 4 p.m. PST while rounds 2-7 will be shown live on Saturday starting at 7 a.m. on the NHL Network.