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BCHL prospects hoping to make Draft history

by Mike G. Morreale / Toronto Maple Leafs



BUFFALO -- Never have three players from the British Columbia Hockey League been selected in the first round of the NHL Draft.

That could change at First Niagara Center on June 24, when center Tyson Jost and defensemen Dante Fabbro and Dennis Cholowski each could hear his name called among the first 30 selections of the 2016 draft.

Jost and Fabbro, who played for Penticton, and Cholowski, who played for Chilliwack, are considered among the elite prospects of this draft class. The three have been busy this week at the NHL Scouting Combine at First Niagara Center and HarborCenter. Jost and Fabbro will interview with 28 NHL teams, and Cholowski will meet with 29.

"It's definitely a cool experience going through this with Tyson," Fabbro said Tuesday. "We can rely on each other at the combine. We're rooming together so it's been special. We've grown pretty close the past couple of years [in Penticton]. Hopefully we can make Penticton proud."

Two BCHL players were selected in the first round in 2007, when center Kyle Turris of Burnaby was drafted third by the Arizona Coyotes and forward Riley Nash of Salmon Arm went at No. 21 to the Edmonton Oilers. Turris remains the highest-drafted BCHL player.

BCHL teammates have not been selected in the first round since 2004, when Salmon Arm center Travis Zajac was selected at No. 20 by the New Jersey Devils and forward Kris Chucko was picked at No. 24 by the Calgary Flames.

Forward Beau Bennett, selected by the Pittsburgh Penguins with the 20th pick in 2010, was the most recent first-round pick from the BCHL.

Fabbro, named the top defenseman in the BCHL this season, is committed to Boston University for 2016-17. Jost, the most valuable player of the BCHL, will attend the University of North Dakota next season, and Cholowski will continue his career at St. Cloud State University.

"The BCHL definitely helped my development as a player since I was a late pick in the WHL draft," said Cholowski, who was drafted by Prince George in the 10th round (No. 200) of the 2013 Western Hockey League bantam draft. "I made Chilliwack as a 16-year-old and now I'm committed to a college and playing hockey. I'm pretty happy right now."

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