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Saturday, July 13, 2013

Blazers sign latest acquisition

By GREGG DRINNAN
Daily News Sports Editor

The Kamloops Blazers had one selection in the first round of the WHL’s 2013 bantam draft. On Friday, they announced the signing of a second first-round selection.
Confused?
The Blazers used their first-round pick, 19th overall, on forward Quinn Benjafield, a North Vancouver native who signed a WHL contract on June 27.
Yesterday, the Blazers announced the signing of forward Jake Kryski, 15, who was selected 13th overall by the Prince Albert Raiders. Kryski, who is from Vancouver, was acquired this week from Prince Albert in a deal that cost the Blazers veteran goaltender Cole Cheveldave, 20.
In the exchange, the Blazers also gave up a fourth-round selection in the 2015 bantam draft while getting back a seventh-round pick in 2014.
Kryski played last season with the Burnaby Winter Club’s bantam A1 team, putting up 118 points, including 59 goals, in 58 games.
“He is a very skilled player . . . I like him a lot,” offered a rival WHL team’s general manager who said he saw Kryski “many times” last season. “He got drafted perhaps a few spots high, but most teams would have had him as a top 20 player. . . . a very good deal for Kamloops.”
Last season, Benjafield had 121 points, 59 of them goals, in 65 games. He is hopeful of making the roster of the major midget Vancouver-Northwest Giants for the upcoming season.
The two boys are the best of friends, too. They played on the same team in the B.C. Cup, an eight-team under-16 spring tournament that was held in Salmon Arm. They also played on the same summer team, the 98 Vipers, in 2012.
Kryski advanced from the U16 spring camp and is at BC Hockey’s 2013 U16 provincial camp in Nanaimo this week. Out of that camp, 20 players will be selected to play in the Western Canada U16 Challenge Cup.
While Benjafield and Kryski are both expected at Kamloops’ training camp when it opens on Aug. 22, WHL rules prevent 15-year-old players from playing regularly. Each is likely to make one or two appearances during the 2013-14 season.
JUST NOTES: D Cody Allen, F Alex Buchanan and F Robert Johnson, all of Kamloops, also are in the BC Hockey provincial camp in Nanaimo. Allen’s WHL rights belong to the Lethbridge Hurricanes, while Buchanan was a draft pick of the Saskatoon Blades and Johnson was taken by the Kootenay Ice.

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