Aldergrove’s Jonathan James Rees is one of 36 players who played in the Canadian Sport School Hockey League (CSSHL) during the 2014-15 season who were selected on Thursday at the 2015 Western Hockey League (WHL) Bantam Draft.
Highlighting the draft was Delta Hockey Academy defenceman, and reigning CSSHL Bantam Prep Division MVP, Ty Smith, who went first overall to the Spokane Chiefs, while Okanagan Hockey Academy captain Tyler Popowich was selected third overall by the Vancouver Giants.
Rees, a 15 year old forward, was drafted in round 9, #193 overall by Portland Winterhawks in the WHL Bantam Draft.
Rees had enjoyed his minor hockey years with the Aldergrove Association, prior to joining the Okanagan Hockey Academy. He had also competed in athletics at the 2014 BC Summer Games on Vancouver Island.
In the B Division of the 21st annual Vancouver Challenge Cup in May of 2014 Rees was a big contributor to the Fraser Valley Royals, who rolled through the competition – posting a 4-0-0 record and outscoring the opposition 54-4 — and then would score another 16 goals in the two playoff games but fall to the Vancouver Selects Black 5-4. The leading scorers were dominated by Selects Black and Fraser Valley Royals players with Jon Rees Jr. (Aldergrove) leading the way with 13-10-23 in six games. Also noteworthy were Matthew Konrad (8-9-17) (Abbotsford), Taylor Lewis (9-7-16) (Ridge Meadows) and Josh Boelema (3-13-16) (Aldergrove).
Rees, who weighs 161 lbs. and stands at 5’11” tall, played 18 regular season games and four playoffs games with the Okanagan Hockey Academy in the 2014-15 season, earning a total of 18 points for eight goals and 10 assists. Four of the goals were in the post-season playoffs.
Rees lists Evgeni Malkin as his favourite hockey player and the Los Angeles Kings as his favourite hockey team. He styles his play after Anže Kopitar and says he’d most like to meet Sidney Crosby.
In total, 12 players were selected from the the Okanagan Hockey Academy, nine players each from the Delta Hockey Academy and Pursuit of Excellence, along with six players from the Edge School for Athletes.
Altogether, 19 of the 22 WHL clubs selected at least one player from the CSSHL, with the Western Conference Champions, Kelowna Rockets, leading the way with four selections. Kamloops, Moose Jaw, Red Deer and Saskatoon each selected three CSSHL players.
The 2014-15 season marked the first year the CSSHL offered a Bantam division.