EDMONTON - The Portland Winter Hawks selected defenceman Derrick Pouliot of Weyburn, Sask., first overall in the Western Hockey League draft Thursday.
The five-foot-11, 165-pound Pouliot had 25 goals and a team-high 38 assists in 26 games for the Weyburn Wings in the South Saskatchewan Minor Hockey League this season. Pouliot had two goals and two assists in four games in the Western Bantam Championships and was named most valuable player of the tournament.
"We're excited to get a defenceman who can handle the puck, move the puck and skate like he does," Winter Hawks coach and general manager Mike Johnston said.
The first four selections in the draft were defencemen. Moran Rielly of West Vancouver, B.C., went second overall to the Moose Jaw Warriors.
Griffin Reinhart, was the No. 3 selection by the Edmonton Oil Kings, who acquired the pick from Chilliwack, and Calgary's Matt Dumba went fourth to the Red Deer Rebels.
Saskatoon's Chandler Stephenson was the first forward taken at No. 5 by the Regina Pats.
A total of 233 players were selected in the draft. Players born in 1994 (ages 14-15) were eligible.
The WHL's territorial rights extend across Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta and B.C., and the states of Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Kansas, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Washington and Wyoming.
Alberta led selections Thursday with 74, followed by British Columbia with 56, Saskatchewan with 45 and Manitoba's 34. Twenty-four were chosen from the United States.