Friends delivered some exciting news to Braeden Lewis and Grady Lane last week.
Each Virden student-athlete learned from a buddy on May 3 that he was selected in the Western Hockey League Bantam Draft. The Swift Current Broncos tabbed Lewis, the son of Dale and Tracy, in the sixth round, 114th overall.
Two rounds later the Spokane Chiefs took Lane, the son of Craig and Stacey, as the 156th pick.
“It caught me unexpected and I just couldn't believe that it had happened,” Lewis said. “It was a true dream come true and I will remember that moment for the rest of my life.”
It will be a year before either player is eligible to play junior hockey full-time. However, each is expected to be invited to their WHL team’s camp before the next hockey season.
“I'm looking forward to working hard at the camp to show my strengths and what I'm all about,” Lane said. “I'm looking forward to making good contributions to the Chiefs. I've heard many good things about the Spokane Chiefs and look forward to checking out the organization further.”
Both Lane and Lewis plan to try out for the Southwest Cougars midget AAA team after suiting up for the organization’s bantam AAA entry in 2017-2018. The players are looking forward to developing their skills in the competitive Manitoba AAAA Midget Hockey League.
Lane and Lewis were the only Cougars drafted. Fellow area team the Yellowhead Chiefs saw the following players picked: Foxwarren’s Colby Wotton, 136th overall in seventh round, Regina; Rapid City’s Sloan Stanick, 145th overall in seventh round, Everett; and Neepawa’s Brandy Young, 208th overall in the tenth round, Spokane.
A player does not make it to the levels Lane and Lewis have achieved by themselves. Lewis said family support is one of the biggest things a player needs.
“My family takes care of me, makes sure I am ready for games, gives me advice, and gives me rides to my games and practices,” he said.
“This is only a few of many things my family does for me to be the player I am. It is not a player’s success; it is everyone that helps him get that success.”
Lewis was getting ready for gym class when Lane came in and yelled “Braeden, you got drafted.” The 5-foot-10.5, 148 pound forward racked up 47 points, including 23 goals, in 28 games last season.
“Lewis has an offensive upside but we really like his two-way game,” said Broncos’ Director of Hockey Operations Jamie Porter on the team’s website. “He’s a 200-foot player, has leadership, character and priorities that we were looking for.”
Lane was hanging out with one of his best friends at school when the buddy informed him the Chiefs had selected him.
“Then my phone started going off like crazy,” Lane said. “I was super excited and I was just so happy that I got picked by a first class organization - the Spokane Chiefs. It is every bantam player’s dream to be drafted and I’m just so lucky I got picked by Spokane.”
The 6-foot, 176-pound forward scored 22 goals, had 42 points, and accumulated 99 penalty minutes last season.
“Grady plays a full 200-foot game,” said Chris Moulton, the Chiefs’ assistant general manager of hockey operations, on the team’s website. “He’s good on face-offs and is hard on the puck.”