They took different routes to get there, but Mission hockey prospects Bailey Dhaliwal and Bronson Sharp have both had their rights picked up by Western Hockey League teams.
Dhaliwal, a 15-year-old defenceman, was selected by the Vancouver Giants in the seventh round of the WHL bantam draft (for 1999-born players) on May 1.
Sharp, a versatile forward, was passed over in the draft, but was added to the Portland Winterhawks’ protected player list a couple days later.
Both players suited up last season for the Mission Stars bantam squad, which hosted the provincial Tier 2 championship and finished fourth.
Both are also part of the hockey academy at Abbotsford’s Yale Secondary and W.A. Fraser Middle – Dhaliwal is a Grade 9 student at Yale, while Sharp is in Grade 8 at Fraser.
Dhaliwal found out he’d been drafted during warm-up for a hockey academy dryland training session.
“Some of the guys had their cellphones on and they were checking Twitter,” he recounted with a smile. “All of a sudden I hear, ‘Where’s Bailey, where’s Bailey,’ and I look back, and they’re all jumping on me. It was a great experience. It was awesome.”
Dhaliwal, who boasts a terrific frame (6’2″, 185 pounds) for a 15-year-old, said he’s pleased to stay close to home with the Giants.
“It’s nice and close, and if I make the team, I can get season tickets for my parents,” he noted.
Sharp, who can play centre or left wing, said it was “a little bit of disappointment” to go undrafted. But he was thrilled to land with the powerhouse Winterhawks, who have been to the WHL final four straight years and won the league title in 2013.
“It’s one of the best teams, and it would be awesome if I could play there,” he enthused.