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Blazers grab Rizzo in first round

Kamloops adds 11 players in bantam draft
May 5, 2016 7:55 P.M.

Massimo Rizzo, a centre from Burnaby, was the first of 11 players selected by the Kamloops Blazers in the WHL’s annual bantam draft on Thursday in Calgary.
The Blazers selected the 5-foot-10, 165-pounder with the 14th pick of the first round. He had 137 points, including 60 goals, in 61 games with the bantam AAA Burnaby Winter Club Bruins, who capped their season by winning the Western Canadian championship in Okotoks, Alta.
Rizzo was named to the first all-star team at that tournament, as he topped the scoring race with 11 points, including eight assists, in five games.
In the second round, the Blazers took centre Connor Zary of Saskatoon. A 5-foot-10, 150-pounder, he had 81 points, 44 of them goals, in 30 games with the bantam AA Saskatoon Outlaws.
Defenceman Quinn Schmiemann, 5-foot-11 and 165 pounds, was taken by the Blazers in the third round. From Wilcox, Sask., he played in his hometown for the bantam AAA Notre Dame Hounds, scoring eight goals and adding 14 assists in 38 games. His brother, Dominic, was a first-round pick by the Swift Current Broncos in the 2014 draft.
In the fourth round, the Blazers picked 6-foot-1, 200-pound defenceman Jimmy Darby of North Vancouver. He played last season for a bantam A1 team at the North Shore Winter Club.
Kamloops had two fifth-round picks and used them a pair forwards from the bantam AA Sask Valley Vipers, a team that is operated by the Martensville and Warman minor hockey associations. Kyrell Sopotyk, 5-foot-8 and 140 pounds, had 28 goals and 25 assists in 30 games, while Jerzy Orchard, 5-foot-7 and 130 pounds, had 23 goals and 21 assists in 30 games. Sopotyk is from Aberdeen, Sask., while Orchard is from Delisle.
The Blazers didn’t have another selection until the eighth round, when they took goaltender Blake Wood, a 6-foot-1, 180-pounder from Nanaimo, He played this season for the bantam prept team at the Yale Hockey Academy, going 9-3, 2.70, .900.
Defenceman Matthew Ubriaco, a 5-foot-11, 147-pounder from Campbell River, was selected by the Blazers in the ninth round.
They took forward Brody Green, 6-foot-1 and 165 pounds, of Edmonton in the 10th round. He had 19 goals and 13 assists in 31 games for the Edmonton Knights of Columbus bantam AAA team.
In the 11th round, Kamloops took centre Jagger Prosofsky, a 5-foot-8, 140-pounder from Saskatoon. He had 21 goals and 14 assists in 29 games with the bantam AA Saskatoon Outlaws. Prosofsky is the son of former WHLer Tyler Prosofsky, who played with the Tacoma/Kelowna Rockets (1992-96).
With their final selection, in the 12th round, Kamloops took defenceman Nicksha Eric, a 6-foot-1, 165-pounder from Fort McMurray, Alta., Eric played this season with the bantam AAA Fort Saskatchewan, Alta., Rangers, putting up two goals and 11 assists in 36 games.
JUST NOTES: A player selected in this draft is eligible to play five WHL games next season before his club team has its season come to end. . . . This was the Blazers’ first bantam draft under general manager Stu MacGregor, who took over following the resignation of Craig Bonner just six games into this season. . . . LW Logan Ganie, a ninth-round selection by the Blazers in the 2014 draft, was picked in the ninth round on Thursday by the Medicine Hat Tigers. From Irma, Alta., he had 38 points, including 18 goals, in 33 games this season with the midget AAA Lloydminster Bobcats.

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