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Cowichan-connected players get picked up in WHL draft

Capitals AP, two Shawnigan prep players among those selected

A Cowichan Valley Capitals affiliate player and two members of the Shawnigan Lake School U17 Prep team were among more than 200 players selected in the Western Hockey League’s 2021 bantam draft last Thursday.

Goaltender Matthew Hutchison, who looked solid in two games for the Caps earlier this season, was taken 50th overall by the Vancouver Giants in the third round of the draft. The 6-foot-2, 165-pound goalie for the U18 AAA North Island Silvertips impressed during the Caps’ fall training camp, then got into a pair of regular-season games, going 1-1 with a 4.00 goals-against average and .909 save percentage. The Nanaimo product made his B.C. Hockey League debut on Oct. 31, less than a month after his 15th birthday, stopping 51 of 53 shots in a 4-2 win over the visiting Vernon Vipers.

Shawnigan U17 Prep forward Cohen (Coco) Armstrong was taken by the Spokane Chiefs in the seventh round with the 139th pick. A West Vancouver product, Armstrong leads his team with 16 goals and 24 points in 14 games this season. His teammate, Bryce Minten, was taken 15 picks later by the Kamloops Blazers. Also a forward, Minten hails from Vancouver. Minten is second on the U17 Prep team with 15 points and tied for first in assists with nine.

Additionally, the 11th overall pick, Colton Roberts of Maple Ridge, who went to the Vancouver Giants, told the Maple Ridge News that his minor hockey coaches, particularly Kerry Park Islanders owner, general manager and assistant coach Brandon Cox, helped him become the player he is.