The Flin Flon Bombers selected four players in the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League (SJHL) Bantam Draft on May 31, adding a forward, two defensemen and a goaltender to their roster of prospects.
Forward Kylynn Olafson was taken in round one, defenseman Cole Tanchuk in round two, goaltender Max Hildebrand in round four and defenseman Kalem Parker in round five. The Bombers did not have a pick in rounds three or six.
Bomber head coach and general manager Mike Reagan was happy overall with how the draft turned out despite failing to make deals on draft day.
“We looked at possibly trading for a third round pick, but at the end of the day, the player that we wanted at that time got selected,” he said. “We didn’t feel that was worth the price to get a third round pick.”
Reagan said he’s very happy with where his prospect list is right now.
“I know some guys have 10 picks. Well, when you have 10 picks, you have to get rid of 10 guys on your list as well,” he said.
“We’re really satisfied with our list at this point, so for us to be selecting the full six, it would have been real tough to find two more players we weren’t happy with on our list.”
Reagan spoke to the challenge of drafting in the SJHL. He said the team has to weigh factors like where the player was taken in the Western Hockey League (WHL) draft, if they’d be willing to play in the SJHL and if the player would come to Flin Flon.
“We send out a questionnaire to a lot of these kids. When it comes down to selecting between one or two kids, we often revert back to that and see what some of their answers were,” he said.
“It’s pretty detailed. Our scouting staff does a real good job with that.”
Olafson was born in Lanigan and played for the bantam AA Humboldt Broncos. Last season, the team captain led the team with 36 points. He was drafted 150th overall by the Edmonton Oil Kings in the WHL draft earlier this year.
Tanchuk scored 34 points last season for the Prince Albert bantam AA Pirates, the sixth best mark for any defenseman in the Saskatchewan bantam AA ranks. He also captained his team and was drafted 92nd overall in the WHL draft by the Seattle Thunderbirds.
Tanchuk and Olafson will play midget AAA for the Tisdale Trojans next season under former Bomber player Dennis Kubat.
“We’re really comfortable with the fact that they’re going to be playing with Tisdale and one of our former players,” Reagan said. “We trust his opinion and we know that he’s a good coach. We know that he’ll say good things about our program and he believes in our program. That’s always a positive.”
Both Hildebrand and Parker played for the Martensville Marauders bantam AA team, which won their league championship. Hildebrand, the son of former Bomber trainer and current Saskatoon Blades assistant general manager Steve Hildebrand, racked up a 14-2 regular season record and went 7-0 in the playoffs. He was drafted 286th by the Prince Albert Raiders in the WHL draft.
Reagan said a big reason the Bombers drafted Hildebrand was his father’s legacy with the team.
Parker was drafted 32nd by the Victoria Royals in the WHL draft. He earned 36 points, good for second on the championship-winning team, and 52 penalty minutes in 30 games.