The Kelowna Rockets took a local Kimberley minor hockey player 158th overall in the ninth round of the WHL Bantam Draft on Thursday.
Tristan Pagura, a defenseman who played on the Cranbrook AA Bantam Ice this year, got the call after having a stellar year with the team in the South Central Alberta Hockey League.
In 31 games, Pagura tallied 21 goals and 16 assists for 37 points, during the regular season, and added another 8 points in 11 games during the playoffs, helping the Ice capture the league championship.
His play earned him the award for top defenseman in the SCAHL at the end of the season.
Pagura, 14, knew he was on the radar with a few WHL teams, but he hadn't talked to the Rockets prior to Thursday's selection.
"I got calls from a couple teams-I never got one from Kelowna, where I was drafted-but they said there was a good chance that I was going to get drafted," Pagura said.
The draft was held all day Thursday in Calgary, and Pagura was still in school while the Rockets made the selection.
He found out after class while he was doing what he does best-playing hockey-by getting a phone call from a friend.
"I called him back, and he said, 'Congratulations,'" Pagura said. "I was like, 'What?' and then he said I got drafted."
Pagura wants to develop as an offensive defenseman, yet stay true to his defensive responsibilities of shutting down the other team's forwards.
He said he models his style after Montreal Canadiens defenseman P.K. Subban.
Pagura will likely attend the Rockets' training camp in August, but will be down in Kelowna in June for a tournament with a squad put together by his U-16 B.C. Cup teammate.
Pagura was the only bantam-aged player from Kimberley or Cranbrook to be drafted into the WHL.