Gardner selected by Spokane in WHL Bantam Draft

Matthew Gourlie
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Spence taken by Kelowna in the fifth round

Rhett Gardner of the Moose Jaw Generals shields the puck in a game against Yorkton. Times-Herald photo by Jeff D'Andrea.

Moose Jaw's Rhett Gardner and Thomas Spence were both selected in Thursday's Western Hockey League Bantam Draft.

Gardner was selected 41st overall by the Spokane Chiefs.

“I was very excited,” said Gardner. “I’m very happy with where I went.”

Gardner was projected to go in the first round in some mock drafts, but he said he didn’t mind the wait until the second round.

“Once everything shook down I was happy. It was worth the wait to go to Spokane,” said Gardner. “They’ve got a great program and they’ve shown a lot of interest. It’s just exciting.”

The six-foot-one centre had 27 goals and 41 points in 22 games with the bantam AA Moose Jaw Ford Warriors. He also played 10 regular season games with the midget AAA Moose Jaw Generals. He scored two goals and added five assists with the Generals. He also played with the Generals in the playoffs and in all three games at the Telus Cup Western regional qualifier.

Gardner wasn’t the only local product selected.

Local goaltender Thomas Spence was chosen in the fifth round, 90th overall, by the Kelowna Rockets. Spence played with the bantam AA Warriors this past season.

“I was pretty excited about it,” said the six-foot-two Spence. “I was following it online and my computer broke down right as it was about to update. I got a couple of texts saying ‘good job’ and I was thinking ‘good job for what?’”

The congratulatory texts were well-earned, Spence was the fifth goalie selected — and the second from Saskatchewan.

Organizations: Western Hockey League

Geographic location: Moose Jaw

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