For the second straight year, a member of the Yellowhead Chiefs was the first selection in the Manitoba Junior Hockey League 2016 bantam draft. Defencemen Parker Malchuk, of Birtle, was picked by the Neepawa Natives on Sunday, June 5, in Selkirk. Malchuk, 15, scored eight goals and 19 assists for the bantam AAA Chiefs during the regular season. During last year’s draft, Neepawa also had the number one draft pick, and chose Yellowhead centre Mackenzie Belinski, of Vista, MB.
In the second round of the 2016 draft, Neepawa picked forward Zak Smith of Austin. Smith was a member of the Central Plains Capitals last year and generated 83 points (33 goals – 50 assists) last season. The complete list for Neepawa selections is as follows.
Neepawa Natives MJHL draft selections:
First Round – Parker Malchuk (Defence), Birtle, MB.
Second Round – Zak Smith (Forward), Austin, MB.
Third Round – Ryan Gottfried (Defence), Winnipeg, MB
Fourth Round – Conrad Solypa (Defence), Cooks Creek, MB.
Fifth Round – Dallon Wilton (Forward), Beausejour, MB.
Fifth Round (Pick traded from Winkler) – Jaeger Lapointe (Forward), Ste. Rose, MB.
Six Round – Zane McDonald (Forward), Minnedosa, MB.
The six round MJHL bantam draft is for players who are 15-years-old, born in 2001. Each of the 11 MJHL clubs are allowed to protect up to two bantam aged players from their local minor hockey association before the draft. Bryan Todoruk of Neepawa was auto protected for the Natives this year.