Last week Virden’s Ty Plaisier and Elkhorn’s Foxx McColl took major steps towards their hockey dreams.
Both local defencemen were picked in the Western Hockey League Bantam Draft and had their rights selected by Manitoba Junior Hockey League teams. The WHL’s Winnipeg Ice picked McColl in the 10th round, 212th overall, of that major junior league’s draft. The son of Travis McColl and Jacqueline Rookes was also tabbed in the second round, 19th overall, by the Swan Valley Stampeders in the Junior A MJHL Draft. Plaisier, the son of Shawn and Debra, was selected by the Regina Pats in the fourth round, 77th overall, of the WHL Draft. His hometown Virden Oil Capitals auto-protected him to secure his rights before the MJHL Draft.
“I was so excited to see my name get called in the draft, and especially to such a respected organization,” Plaisier said of being picked by the Pats. “I couldn't be happier to be picked by the Regina Pats, and I am so excited for a chance to go and prove myself in their training camp. I was also so proud to be auto-protected by the Caps! I can't wait to get a chance to play in front of all my friends and family in my hometown.”
The 5-foot-6, 131-pound McColl enjoyed a strong second season of bantam hockey. He improved his points total by 27. McColl had 17 goals – 15 more than the season before – and 42 points in 30 games for the Yellowhead Chiefs AAA bantam squad. Stampeders head coach Barry Wolff said that his staff liked McColl’s solid all-around game.
“Solid D-man defensively that can be a strong offensive threat on the offensive side. As good of a hockey player Foxx is, he is a better person. Both are important to the Stampeders and the Swan Valley community. We were excited to add him as one of our draft picks.”
Plaisier, a 5-foot-11 ½, 156-pounder, scored 10 goals and recorded 29 points in 36 games last season. He captained the Southwest Cougars AAA Bantam team.
“He is a smooth skating blueliner that moves the puck well and competes hard in all situations,” Oil Capitals head coach Tyson Ramsey said. “He is a natural leader on and off the ice and we’re very excited to see him in an Oil Capitals jersey down the road. It is a great day when we can add a local player of Ty’s calibre and such a great family to our hockey club.”
Plaisier’s family billeted former Oil Caps standout Dylan Thiessen for four seasons.
Both McColl and Plaisier praised their families for their support. McColl said one thing that really helped him was that his parents never pushed him to go over the top with training.
“They let me be a kid in minor hockey and enjoy the game,” he said. “They have done so many things to help me excel, like opening the rink up for me to go skate, working on my skating skills whenever we could, just all the things that make the sport fun to me.”
Plaisier said his folks have supported him in the sport since he started.
“My dad coached me in minor hockey for eight years, and my mom always managed the team. They also managed my AAA team this year. They have always been very supportive and helpful.”
Others also played a role in the players’ development. Plaisier said that many, many people helped him along the way. Some of the locals who have lent a hand include Troy Leslie with the Breakfast Club program, Dale Lewis, and gym trainer Kelsey McLeod, to just name a few. McColl said everyone in his hometown had an impact on his hockey career.
“You know growing up in a small town, the rink is open 24/7 and everyone who was playing any level of AAA hockey at the time would come and have a game of shinny,” McColl said. “Eventually they moved in to higher levels and playing with all those guys growing up is what impacted my game.”