McAuley’s Jake Poole said it was a dream come true to be selected in the recent Western Hockey League Bantam Draft.
The son of Robin and Dana Poole was picked in the sixth round, 127th overall by the Kelowna (B.C.) Rockets in the prestigious event on May 4. Poole, 14, found out he was drafted while at Hockey Manitoba’s top 40 camp for its under-16 male Program of Excellence program. Although the province’s best players were competing to represent Manitoba at the U16 Challenge Cup in Calgary in October, they supported each other as some of them learned they had been tabbed as major junior prospects.
“When I saw my name everyone came and congratulated me. I was still in shock,” Poole wrote in a text interview. “It was a very exciting time and being there with my friends and some teammates made it feel even more excited.”
The Rockets see a big upside to Poole’s game, according to Kelowna Director of Player Personnel Lorne Frey.
“He has good size and very good hands combined with good hockey sense and awareness,” Frey wrote in an email interview. “He plays hard and competes.”
Poole was pleased to be picked by the franchise that helped NHLers such as Jamie Benn, Duncan Keith, and Shea Weber, to just name a few, develop their games.
“The most exciting thing about being drafted by Kelowna is that they’re a very good organization and a lot of great hockey players have come from there,” Poole texted. “It is also a very nice place. I can't wait to go to the camp and see the town and facility.”
A 6-foot, 175-pound forward, Poole recorded 36 goals, 41 assists, 77 points, and 28 penalty minutes in 36 games last season for the Yellowhead Chiefs midget AAA team.
“Jake is a very hardworking player,” Chiefs head coach Chad Facey wrote in a text interview. “He always gives it all he can. He is very strong on the puck and possesses very good hands. He is an absolute treat to coach. He is always wanting to get better.”
Poole said that many people have helped him get to where he is today as a hockey player.
“I have been so lucky to have such great coaches throughout minor hockey …” Poole texted. “Darcy Jamison, Murray Gray and Perry Rasmusson have been my coaches all the way up until bantam and have taught me a lot and have always told me the right things to do and always made me work my hardest.”
He also appreciates the encouragement of his parents – both of whom were standout athletes in their youth. His father played in the WHL as well as at the Junior A level.
“They have given me a lot of support through everything and always have given me what I need to succeed. I think my dad has helped me a lot through the years, and it's nice to give back to them for once.”
Poole is also a successful baseball player. Last year he competed at the Manitoba Summer Games. He also is on the Manitoba 2017 16U Development Team winter roster.
In addition to Poole, the Chiefs bantam team saw Birtle’s Brody Wilson (10th round, 1999) and Rivers’ Zachary Veitch (10th round, 206) drafted by Kelowna and Saskatoon, respectively.
“As coaches, we are very proud of all our players from this year,” Facey texted. “Jake had a great year and deserved to be drafted.”
Fellow regional bantam AAA squad the Southwest Cougars also had three players picked – all from Souris: Cory King, Moose Jaw. fifth round, 98th overall; Tyson Kozak. Portland, sixth round, 121; and Landon Roberts, Tri-City, sixth round, 129th.