Fernie’s own Tyler Palmer has been drafted to the Spokane Chiefs, marking the second time in almost 25 years that a Fernie local has been drafted to the Western Hockey League (WHL).
Palmer was chosen in the 10th round of the bantam draft on Thursday, May 3. To date, there have only been four players in the history of the WHL to be drafted from Fernie.
The soon-to-be 15-year-old says he’s honoured and excited to attend camp in Spokane, WA., this summer.
The 5’09 goaltender grew up playing hockey in Fernie until he moved with his family to Lethbridge, Alta., two years ago. He has fond memories winning provincials during his second year with the Fernie Peewee Ghostriders. Palmer’s last season was with the Lethbridge Golden Hawks, Bantam Triple A (BAAA).
Chris Moulton says he was very pleased by Palmer’s skill and attitude, and decided to bring him on. Moulton is the Assistant General Manager and head scout of the Spokane Chiefs, and is in charge of this year’s bantam draft.
In his 23 years with the WHL, Moulton has only ever drafted one other Fernie athlete; another goaltender, David Leneveu, who eventually played for Canada as well as for the New York Rangers.
Moulton has known Palmer since he was young, and says he’s watched the goaltender grow as a hockey player over the years.
“I always saw how hard he worked, and how dedicated he was to his craft,” said Moulton. “For me it’s easy to pick him because I know him and I know his worth ethic, and I know he’s a good kid.”
Aside from this, Moulton said Palmer had taken big strides as a goaltender, and that the entire Spokane staff were in favour of the draft pick after seeing this, as well as his compete level.
“He was an easy choice for us,” he said. “He’s got lots of work to do to play in the Western Hockey League, but I know he’s going to do everything he can to try and play.”
Palmer considers this past season his best yet, during which he was drafted for the Chiefs as well as selected for team Alberta. Looking down the road, he has big plans.
“The WHL is a big stepping stone but the NHL is the big dream for me,” he said.
Palmer will head to camp August 22-26 for his first taste of the WHL. The goaltender is currently 14, turning 15 next month. The earliest he could play in the WHL is at the age of 16.
After camp in August, Palmer will return to play at the Northern Alberta Extreme Academy in Edmonton, AB. After one year there, Spokane will re-evaluate his skills and see how he has progressed.