Williams Lake’s Max Sanford has been drafted by the Western Hockey League’s Kelowna Rockets.
Sanford was selected eighth in the sixth round (118th overall) of the 2019 WHL Bantam Draft held Thursday, May 2.
— North Central Bobcats (@BantamNorth) May 2, 2019
The 15-year-old, six-foot, 185-pound right winger played the 2018/19 season with the North Central Zone Bobcats of the BC Hockey AA Bantam League.
In 17 games played with the Bobcats Sanford recorded 13 goals and added 14 assists for a 27-point campaign. Sanford also helped the team to a provincial bantam tier 1 provincial hockey banner, defeating the North Vancouver Storm 6-1 in the championship game on home ice in Prince George.
Sanford was among 144 players attending the U16 BC Cup in Salmon Arm recently, where multiple scouts from several WHL teams expressed interest in drafting him.
On draft day, Sanford said he was at school in Williams Lake when he heard the news.
“I’d just been following along on the website, listening to the broadcast, and found out through that,” Sanford told the Tribune. “I jumped up right away, was excited and went to call my dad. It was busy, though, because his brothers were already calling him, so I called my friend [and Bobcats teammate] Jacob Johnson in Prince George.”
Sanford will attend this year’s Rockets main camp in August, where he’ll be looking to assert himself.
“My strengths are my shot, skating with the puck and stick handling,” he said. “I’m just really excited [about being drafted by the Rockets.] There are a lot of good players that have come out of there and it’s pretty cool to play for an organization like that.”
The Rockets are coached by former NHLer, two-time Stanley Cup champion and Canadian Olympic gold medalist Adam Foote.
“I’m looking forward to see what it’s like to play there and hopefully play there some day,” he said.
Sanford thanked his Bobcats coach, Mirsad Mujcin, and his billet family Marilyn and Eric Thomas of Prince George, for all their support and encouragement during the season, along with his parents, Brenton and Cathy Sanford.