A pair of players with Trail ties went one right after another in the 2015 WHL Bantam Draft on Thursday.
The WHL Bantam Draft is held annually by the WHL to provide an orderly transfer of players to WHL Club Protected Player Lists (PPL). Once a player is selected by a WHL Club, he can only participate in tryout camps and other team activities for that Club.
Martini a 14-year-old Castlegar native, was selected by the Swift Current Broncos. While Martini’s family now lives in Trail, Ethan turned scouts’ heads while playing for the Edge Sports Academy in Calgary this season.
The Academy is a private school for Grades 5-12, whose focus is to develop and educate young athletes, in particular hockey players with the goal of getting them to the NCAA or Junior ranks, and ultimately the NHL. Edge Academy alumni include Tyler Myers of the Buffalo Sabres and Joe Colborne of the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Martini, a 165 pound, six-foot-four defenceman, netted a goal and three assists in 27 games with Edge, while racking up 75 minutes in penalties.
A Scouting News report on the top 250 prospects had this to say about Martini: “We think WHL teams would be crazy out of their mind to let Martini slip past the number 100 slot on draft day.
“At the start of the season Ethan could barely move, and now at the end, he’s proven to be one of the best project defenders available in the WHL bantam draft. And the good news? This prospect is now just starting to find his stride, and without question we believe by the time he is 19 years old teams will be looking back through old reports and wondering why they passed up a legit top-six defender with a natural mean streak and the work ethic to match.”
Ethan comes by his hockey skills honestly, following in the footsteps of his father Darcy Martini who was drafted in the eighth round, 162nd overall in the 1989 NHL draft by the Edmonton Oilers. He played four years at Michigan Tech, before going onto a pro career in the AHL, IHL, ECHL, and eventually Europe. Martini played two games for the Edmonton Oilers in 1993-94 season.
Buskey, son of Fruitvale native Brad Buskey, went to the Spokane Chiefs in the third round of the WHL Bantam draft. The 15-year-old is a six-foot-two, 200 pound goalie who lives in Vancouver and played for the North Shore Winter Club Bantam A1 team last season.
Regarding Buskey, the scouting report from the Sporting News read, “The WHL is all about development, and turning raw projects into top caliber NHL draft selections. With that said, we believe somewhere in the first four rounds of the draft a team will take interest in standout 1999 prospect Buskey, and pull the draft day trigger so to speak.
“Donovan is a big and athletic kid and takes up a lot of the net, and we think he’ll really emerge under the tutelage of world class goalie instructors, and, of course, the added benefit of facing top end shooters day in and day out.”
Ty Smith was the first player selected in the draft by the Spokane Chiefs. The Delta Hockey Academy player is a Lloydminster, Alta. native, and a talented blueliner, who enrolled in the Academy for his Grade 9 year and promptly led the DHA Bantam Prep team to an outstanding season.
He scored nine goals and 19 assists in 16 regular season games, adding three goals and four assists in four playoff games.