The Bombers will have their first chance to restock their prospect cupboard at the upcoming SJHL draft - and they will have plenty of chances to pick.
This year’s draft will take place June 1, concurrent with the SJHL’s annual post-season meetings. According to the SJHL website, the Bombers have nine picks in this year’s draft - six in the first six rounds, set aside for 2007-born players, with another three in the final two rounds set aside for 2008-born players.
Some of the Bombers’ picks were moved or acquired in trades. The Bombers’ first-round pick, ranked 10th overall, remains theirs, but the team has two picks in the second round, the 19th overall selection and the 22nd overall selection. The 19th overall pick originally belonged to the Estevan Bruins - the 22nd overall pick is the Bombers’ original selection.
In the 2008-born draft, the Bombers pick fifth and 10th overall, using both their own pick (10th) and the Weyburn Red Wings’ pick. Both the picks originally owned by the Bruins and Wings were acquired in previous deals.
The Bombers also have the right to either trade or decline picks, a common occurrence during the SJHL draft, especially in later rounds.
The Bombers have seen success in the SJHL draft in recent years, with seven former draft picks playing at least one game for the club this past season. Kylynn Olafson and Rylan Pearce - the Bombers’ 2019 and 2020 first round selections - led the way, joined by 2019 second-rounder Cole Tanchuk, 2022 first round pick Koen Senft, 2020 fourth-round pick Braxton Kabrud, 2020 sixth-rounder Jack Bechard, and 2017 third-round pick Noah Kuntz, who played for the team in spot duty during the playoffs.
Two of the Bombers’ five 2020 draft picks did not play organized hockey last season, while each of the other three - Bechard, Kabrud and Pearce - played at least one game as a Bomber.
What next season’s Bomber club will look like is largely unknown. The club, unlike the other 11 teams in the SJHL, has not announced a single player signing for next season so far, though some players have been picked by the club for player agreements.
In last year’s SJHL draft, coming back after missing the 2021 event, the Bombers picked six players - forwards Hudson Darby, Koen Senft and Ryan Ulmer, defenders Kolten Bridgeman and Jonah Marshall and goalie Ryan Bain. Bain, Bridgeman and Senft each attended Bomber camp last year, with Senft playing games for the team late in the season and joining the club for the playoffs. Senft, a 2006-born forward from Regina, played two games for the Bombers after a 39-game, 42-point campaign for the U18 AAA Regina Pat Canadians.
After leaving Bomber camp last year, Bridgeman impressed at training camp with the WHL’s Regina Pats, with whom he played eight games throughout the season. Bridgeman played most of the season with Senft and the Pat Canadians, putting up 14 points in 37 games. Darby also played games in the WHL last season, parlaying a successful year with the U18 AAA Swift Current Legionnaires into seven games with the Portland Winterhawks.
Marshall played the season with the Warman Wildcats U18 AAA team, finishing the year with four points in 36 games. Bain had a 15-6-0 record in 31 games with the U18 AAA Moose Jaw Warriors, ending the year with a 3.38 goals-against-average and a .894 save percentage. Ulmer, a 2007-born forward, split the season between the Pat Canadians and the AA Regina Rangers, where he finished the season with 48 points in 35 games.