High risk, high reward - that was the name of the game for the Flin Flon Bombers’ latest draft class, picked by the team June 1.
The team picked nine players in the annual player draft, including top talents from Canadian prep school hockey and Saskatchewan’s U15 and U18 ranks. Six of the team’s players have also been picked by Western Hockey League (WHL) teams, but may play junior A in the future if they wish to pursue NCAA scholarships.
The Bombers picked fourth overall in the draft, having acquired the pick in a deal with the Notre Dame Hounds. That pick was used to select Leo Seitz, a 16-year-old forward from Saskatoon. Seitz played the past season with the Saskatoon Blazers, who won the Saskatchewan U18 AAA championship, played in the world-famous Circle K Classic tournament in Calgary and reached the national title tournament, the Telus Cup, finishing in third place.
Playing behind a stacked team of top recruits as an underaged player, Seitz still managed to produce, putting up 17 points in 44 games and playing in four playoff games.
At 5-foot-11, 154 pounds at 16, Seitz plays a physical yet skilled game, able to play equally well on defence or offence and on special teams. Seitz was picked in the fourth round in last year’s WHL draft by the Tri-City Americans.
The Bombers picked twice in the second round. The team’s first choice, 19th overall and previously acquired from Estevan, was Benett Leibel, a 15-year-old right-hand shot defender from Saskatoon. Known for his prowess on the powerplay, the 5-foot-8, 141-pound Leibel had 25 points in 33 regular season games with the Saskatoon Riverkings U18 AA squad, then had 18 points, including 16 assists, in 14 playoff games. The Riverkings won the provincial U18 AA title in the spring, defeating the Estevan Bears in a final series. Leibel is slated to play U18 AAA hockey next season with the Saskatoon Contacts.
A few picks later at 22nd overall, the Bombers picked a player familiar with Manitoba hockey - Hudson Brehaut, a 15-year-old native of Whitewood, Sask. Despite being a Saskatchewan player, Brehaut played last season with the Rink Hockey Academy prep school program in Winnipeg last year, putting up 47 points and 25 goals in 34 games in the Canadian Sports School Hockey League (CSSHL) under-16 division. Brehaut played time on the same line as Wyatt Stinton, a Flin Flon-born and raised prospect whose junior A rights are owned by the Bombers. Brehaut also played for minor hockey programs in Melville and with the Notre Dame Hounds.
With no third-round picks, the Bombers’ draft would continue in the fourth round, picking 16-year-old Eric Han from Regina. The 5-foot-9, 148-pound forward played last season with the Tisdale Trojans, suiting up with both Bomber prospect Jack Bechard and auto-protect player Ryder Mucha and being coached by former Bomber star Dennis Kubat. In his first year of U18 AAA hockey, Han had 14 points in 40 games. Han was picked last year in the WHL draft, going to the Kelowna Rockets in the 10th round.
With a pair of fifth-rounders, Flin Flon swung for the fences with their last picks of the 2007-born draft, picking two players previously picked in the WHL draft last year. Pick 49 was used on centre Brennan Brown, a 6-foot-3, 174 pound 16-year-old from Milestone, Sask. Brown was picked in the third round by Swift Current in the 2022 WHL draft and had a long year in his first season of U18 AAA hockey, tallying six points in 44 games with the Moose Jaw U18 Warriors. Playing with Bomber draft pick Ryan Bain and training camp invitee Rhett Perrin, Brown brings size to a team that was one of the league’s biggest teams last year.
The second fifth-round pick was used on goalie Logan Edmonstone, originally from Saskatoon. The 15-year-old netminder stands 5-foot-10 and 161 pounds and was one of two main goalies for the Saskatoon Contacts last season, splitting the net with La Ronge pick and WHL player Chase Wutzke. Playing in 23 games last season, Edmonstone had four shutouts in 23 games, along with a 15-6-0 record, a 2.51 goals-against-average and a .914 save percentage. In playoffs, Edmonstone played five games and went 3-2 with a 2.85 GAA and .919 save percentage. Edmonstone also backstopped Team Saskatchewan at the Canada Winter Games, being the team’s main goalie through five games, putting up a 2.02 GAA and .917 save percentage en route to a silver medal.
The goalie is also a WHL selection - an eight-rounder of the Kamloops Blazers.
The Bombers then picked three times in the league’s two-round 2008-born player selections. First, picking fifth overall, the Bombers picked forward Keaton Lesperance, a Regina native who played last season for the Regina Aces U15 AA program. In that league, Lesperance averaged more than a goal a game and more than two points a game in the regular season, putting up 60 points in 29 games with 30 goals. Lesperance, 15, stands 5-foot-11 and 150 pounds and has a reputation for both high-powered offence and gritty, physical play. Lesperance was picked in this year’s WHL draft, going in the eighth round to Swift Current.
Later in the first round, the Bombers picked another Regina kid in Jonah Sivertson. Sivertson brings electric offensive skill to the table, leading all players in scoring for the U15 AA ranks last year. Sivertson had a whopping 53 goals and 113 points in 29 games with the Regina Monarchs, adding in another 10 goals and 24 points in just seven playoff games. Sivertson was picked in the fourth round of this year’s WHL bantam draft by Prince Albert - next season, he’s slated to play with the U18 AAA Regina Pat Canadians.
The final pick for Flin Flon has a familiar name for Bomber prospect watchers - Kai Bridgeman, a 6-foot, 134-pound defender from Regina. The 14-year-old Bridgeman played with Lesperance on the Aces this year and has a shutdown defensive game, adding in seven points, all assists, in the regular seasons.
Bridgeman’s older brother Kolten was picked by the Bombers in last year’s SJHL draft in the fourth round, joining the Bombers in training camp before having a breakout season with the Regina Pat Canadians, ending with eight games of WHL play with the Regina Pats.