WICHITA FALLS, Texas – The Wichita Falls Wildcats selected 10 players in the 2014 North American Hockey League Draft on Tuesday, as preparations for the upcoming season continue in earnest.
The Wildcats selections' include five defensemen, four forwards and one goaltender, and feature players from eight different states, and one Canadian province.
“We were very pleased with how the draft turned out,” Head Coach John LaFontaine said. “We feel very good about picking up players that we believe fill our needs up the middle and on the blue line.”
Taking part in his first draft as coach of the Wildcats, LaFontaine placed an emphasis on drafting intelligent, well-rounded players. He also credited the work done by Team President and General Manager Paul Baxter and Assistant Coach Chris Ceransky to scout and prepare for the draft.
“As a whole, we looked to select players who are smart, competitive hockey players who have shown they have the potential to develop into Division I athletes,” LaFontaine said. “The work that Paul and Chris did to recruit and find top players who fit that description was huge. They both did a lot of leg work and that certainly made for a smoother and more successful draft.”
Preparations for the 2014-15 season continue when the Wildcats host their 2014 Main Camp in Woodridge, Ill. from July 24-27. More information regarding Main Camp can be found by visiting www.wfwildcatshockey.com.
Austin Beaulieu, F: (1st Round, 13th pick overall)
A point-producing winger, Beaulieu spent the 2013-14 season with the TPH Thunder in Duluth, Ga. While there, he racked up 70 points (23 goals, 47 assists) in 49 games played at the Midget Major level, and was his team’s second-leading scorer. The Coral Springs, Fla.-native is committed to the University of Alabama in Hunstville for the 2015-16 season.
Jeff Baum, D: (3rd Round, 61st pick overall)
After spending last year with the New York Bobcats of the Eastern Hockey League, Baum will be looking to ply his trade closer to home in 2014-15. A two-way defenseman with strong offensive potential, the Colleyville, Texas-native posted 18 points (three goals, 15 assists) in 40 games played for the Bobcats in 2013-14.
Tommy Apap, F: (5th round, 107th overall)
Standing at 6’1”, Apap is a strong, physical, playmaking center with good on-ice vision. The Bloomfield Hills, Mich.-native posted a line of 14-49-63 in 29 games played for Detroit Jesuit as a senior last year, making him the fifth-highest scorer in the Michigan Interscholastic Hockey League. For his efforts, the University of Detroit Jesuit High School-product was named First Team All-MIHL.
Brandon McLennan, D: (6th round, 128th overall)
A strong skater with good vision, McLennan spent the 2013-14 campaign with the Long Island Royals of the Metropolitan Junior Hockey League. The Ontario-born defenseman registered 13 goals and 18 assists for 31 points in 40 league games to lead his team in defensive scoring.
Austin Shaw, G: (7th round, 147th overall)
Shaw spent the 2013-14 season in the Rocky Mountain Roughriders organization, competing on their Midget Major squad. Standing at 6’4”, Shaw’s size, movement and athleticism make him a top goaltending prospect. The Highlands Ranch, Colo.-native was draft by the Omaha Lancers (USHL) in the eighth round of the 2013 USHL Phase II Draft.
Charles Barber, D: (8th Round, 161st overall)
Barber is a well-round defenseman with the ability to play on both sides of the puck. A native of Queensbury, NY, Barber averaged more than a point-per-game from the blue line in 2013-14, registering 21 points (one goal, 20 assists) in 18 games played for the Clifton Park Dynamo (EJEHL) Midget Major squad.
Kevin Dineen, F: (9th Round, 173rd)
Dineen brings speed and tenacity to the ice, along with a proven ability to produce offensively. The Faribault, Minn.-native spent the past three seasons playing at Shattuck St. Mary’s at both the Midget and Prep level. Last year, Dineen tallied 17 goals and 18 assists for 35 points in 53 games played for the Sabres. In addition to being drafted by the Wildcats this year, Dineen was drafted 308th overall by the Muskegon Lumberjacks in the 2013 USHL Phase II Draft.
Christopher “CJ” Dodero, F: (10th round, 185th overall)
The youngest player selected by the Wildcats, Dodero is a strong forward with good vision. He spent the 2013-14 season with the Colorado Thunderbirds organization, playing on their Midget Minor squad. In 37 games played for the Thunderbirds, the Highlands Ranch, Colo.,-native posted a 9-7-16 line. Dodero was also selected in the 10th round of the 2014 USHL Phase II Draft by the Sioux City Musketeers.
Cole Nichols, D: (11th round, 196th overall)
The fourth of five defenseman taken in the draft by the Wildcats, Nichols is a big body on the blue line, standing at 6’2”, 195 pounds. Primarily a shut-down defenseman, the Chicago-born Nichols plied his trade in the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League last season, recording two points in 34 games played for the Flin Flon Bombers. Prior to his time in Canada, Nichols played for the Richmond Generals of the MJHL, posting a 5-20-25 line in 31 games in 2012-13.
Bryce Hatten, D: (12th round, 205th overall)
Hatten is an imposing presence on the blue line, standing at 6’2”, 190 pounds. The Granger, Ind.,-native spent last season with the Michigan Nationals, competing for their Midget Minor squad. With his size, strength and offensive upside, he has the potential to become a top defenseman in the NAHL. A ’97 birth year, Hatten was also selected in the second round of the 2014 USHL Phase II Draft, going 32nd overall to the Cedar Rapids RoughRiders.