Courtesy Spokane Chiefs
Jeffrey Faith, a 6'2" defenseman from Wilcox, Saskatchewan, was the Spokane Chiefs first round selection, 16th overall, in this morning's WHL Bantam Draft."Jeffrey is a big defenseman with shutdown type of characteristics," Chiefs Director of Player Personnel Chris Moulton said. "He's athletic, a real hard worker and we're excited to have him be a part of our organization."Faith appeared in 33 games this past season with the Notre Dame Hounds Bantam team and recorded 82 penalty minutes and added 11 assists. He becomes the fourth defenseman in the last five years selected by Spokane in the first round.Dalton Hamaliuk from Leduc, Alberta was Spokane's second round pick, 38th overall. Hamaliuk was the Leduc Oil Kings (Alberta Major Bantam Hockey League) top scoring defenseman with eight goals and 33 points in 27 games.Jake Toporowski, a 6'0" defenseman, was Spokane's third round selection, 60th overall. Toporowski played this past season for the Chicago Mission Major Bantam team and had 13 points, including 11 assists, in 23 games. Toporowski is the son of Kerry Toporowski who played two seasons in Spokane (1989-91) and helped the Chiefs win their first Memorial Cup in 1991. A Bettendorf, Iowa native, Toporowski had petitioned the WHL earlier in the spring and received approval to be eligible for the bantam draft based on family history and current relationships within the league.This year's draft marks the first time Spokane has taken three defensemen with their first three picks. Taylor Ross, Faith's teammate with the Notre Dame Hounds, was the first forward taken by Spokane as they used their fourth round pick, 82nd overall on the right wing. Ross had 23 goals and 45 points in 33 games this past season, ninth in the South Saskatchewan Minor Hockey League. With their first of two fifth round picks Spokane selected Nicholas Labossiere, a 5'6" left wing from Winnipeg, Manitoba, 101st overall and Spokane native Kailer Yamamoto 105th overall. Labossiere scored 32 goals and 60 points in 30 games this season.Yamamoto grew up playing in the Spokane American Youth Hockey Association. This past season he played for a traveling team based out of Los Angeles.
Michael Doneff from Medicine Hat, Alberta was taken with Spokane's sixth pick, 126th overall. Doneff recorded 37 goals and 67 points in 33 games this season with Medicine Hat of the AMBHL.
The Chiefs picked 6'3" goaltender Matthew Berlin with their seven round selection, 148th overall. Berlin posted a 2.53 goals against average and two shutouts in 12 games this past year with the South Side Athletic Club in his hometown of Edmonton, Alberta.
Regina, Saskatchewan's Chaseton Sare was picked in the eighth round, 170th overall. The center scored 18 goals and 43 points in 33 games as a member of the Regina Pat Blues of the Saskatchewan Bantam AA Hockey League.
Walker Cote, a defenseman from Penticton, B.C., was selected in the ninth round, 192nd overall. The 5'11" blueliner appeared in 56 games this past season with the Okanagan Bantam team and scored four goals and 20 points.
Chiefs Deal Fiddler
Chiefs have acquired a third round selection in the 2014 WHL Bantam Draft from the Moose Jaw Warriors in exchange for forward Todd Fiddler. Fiddler, who scored a career high 42 goals last season, will be entering his 20-year-old season in the WHL. "We are obligated to get down to three 20-year-olds for next season," Chiefs General Manager Tim Speltz said. "You never know what opportunity will be available for the player later in the fall or what the market will bear at that time. This move is a great opportunity for Todd."Spokane will have with the league maximum three 20-year-olds going into next season; goaltender Eric Williams and forwards Mitch Holmberg and Mike Aviani. Alessio Bertaggia has signed a contract to play professionally in Switzerland and is not expected to return to Spokane as an overage.