Dennis Cholowski (left) and Luke Gingras were both selected in the Western Hockey League’s annual bantam draft on Thursday. Cholowski was taken by Prince George and Gingras by Saskatoon.

Dennis Cholowski (left) and Luke Gingras were both selected in the Western Hockey League’s annual bantam draft on Thursday. Cholowski was taken by Prince George and Gingras by Saskatoon.

Blades draft Langley’s Gingras, Cougars take Cholowski

Saskatoon nabs physical forward in fourth round of Western Hockey Leagues

Most teachers probably frown upon distracted students sitting in their classroom with one eye on their smart phones.

And that was exactly what Luke Gingras was doing Thursday morning.

“I am pretty sure he did (know),” Gingras admitted about his teacher knowing the 15-year-old was sneaking peaks down at his phone during class,

After all, Gingras attends Yale Secondary’s Hockey Academy in Abbotsford.

And Thursday just happened to be the Western Hockey League’s annual bantam draft for players born in 1998.

Gingras, who plays forward for the Langley AAA bantam Eagles, was chosen with the first pick of the fourth round, 67th overall, by the Saskatoon Blades.

“It has always been a dream for me to play in the WHL (and this) is a stepping stone in my career and really an honour to get drafted,” he said.

He is six-foot and 170 pounds.

Going into the draft, Gingras was confident he would be selected, but wasn’t sure in which round.

“I was hoping maybe a little higher, but the fourth round is still pretty good,” he admitted.

He is the top pick from Langley since Kyle Burroughs was chosen in the third round (47th) overall in 2010.

“We were really happy Luke was still there in the fourth round,” said Saskatoon assistant general manager Jarrod Brodsky on the Blades’ website.

“Luke is a physical player who always finishes his checks.”

“He’s really one of the most physical forwards in the draft and he has skill to compliment that part of his game.”

“He is a really strong power forward type of player with a really, really good shot,” said Langley coach Scott Perry.

“He is very physical and plays with a lot of intensity.”

As for going to the Blades, he is happy since he knows a lot about the team from watching On the Edge: The Road to the Mastercard Memorial Cup, a Sportsnet TV program which followed the team over the course of the season. Saskatoon is hosting this year’s Memorial Cup.

“That was really cool, so I saw most of them,” Gingras said.

The roster also features Matt Revel, whom Gingras knows from the hockey academy.

Gingras will spend the summer training and plans on trying out for the B.C. Major Midget Hockey League next season. Or alternatively, he may play in a U16 Academy League.


Another member of the Langley Eagles, defenceman Dennis Cholowski, was taken in the 10th round, 200th overall by the Prince George Cougars.

Cholowski is a five-foot-six, 126-pound defenceman.

He said it was exciting getting drafted, and fulfilling a goal he had for a long time.

“He is one of the most skilled defencemen in the draft,” said Todd Harkins, the Cougars’ B.C. Major Midget League scout, on the team’s website.

“He’s got great vision, is a slick skater, and we are glad he was still around at this time.”

Perry called Cholowski one of the best skaters he has ever coached, comparing his style to that of the Chicago Blackhawks’ Duncan Keith.

“He controls the play (and) is a really smart defenceman. He doesn’t put himself in a lot of bad situations. He can jump up into the rush and give you everything; he really is an all-around defenceman.”

Cholowski said he figured he would go around the 10th round and he knows his offensive prowess are what got him noticed.

“I contribute in the offensive zone and have very elusive instincts,” he said. “And quick feet in the defensive zone and an active stick.”

Cholowski also attends the Yale hockey academy and is aiming to land a spot in the B.C. Major Midget Hockey League.

He will spend the summer working on his skating and hitting the weight room in hopes of adding some muscle.

Langley Times