Daemon Hunt, originally from Moosomin, was a first round WHL Bantam draft pick Thursday, chosen 15th overall by the Moose Jaw Warriors.
Hunt lives in Brandon now but grew up in Moosomin and is a Moosomin Minor Hockey product. A defenceman with the Brandon Bantam AAA Wheat Kings, the six-foot-five, 190-lb Hunt scored 22 goals and had 38 assists for a total of 60 points in 36 games during the 2016-17 season. He turns 15 on May 15.
He was the Warriors’ first draft pick Thursday.
Hunt says he was humbled to be chosen in the first round of the draft.
“I’m just glad I got picked really early and I’m just really honored to be drafted by a team,” he says. “I know that they (Moose Jaw) are big into the defencemen in Manitoba and I was glad they decided to pick me up.”
Hunt was at a hockey tryout in Winnipeg when he heard the news.
“I’m at a Hockey Manitoba tryout to make the team and I didn’t get to watch it live but I heard lots and it got me really excited.
“One of my teammates let me know, and they were congratulating me, and my parents came and congratulated me. It was just a really exciting day.
“It’s unbelievable, it’s been a long hockey journey and all my coaches and my parents have helped me a lot throughout the way. It’s been a fun time and I’m excited to see what happens in the future in Moose Jaw.”
Hunt will play Midget AAA hockey in Brandon next season with the Midget AAA Brandon Wheat Kings until he turns 16 and is old enough to play in the WHL, when he hopes the Warriors will give him a shot.
“If I just keep my game up and earn my spot on the team I believe I can have a chance,” he says.
Hunt says the Warriors felt he fit well into their program.
“I think my team play is a big part of the game, and I think I fit a good role in Moose Jaw. They told my dad I was listed as one of their top 10 and they were shocked I was still available for the 15th pick, and they chose me.”
“Daemon Hunt with his upside, size, offensive ability, complete game and compete level was a great way to start the day,” said Warriors General Manager Alan Millar after wrapping up the draft.
Millar said the Warriors are very excited to add another defenceman from Manitoba.
“We continue to build from the back-end and Manitoba has been good to us, you look at Josh Brook, Jett Woo and beyond,” he said.
“Daemon Hunt was a guy that we liked all year, we know him real well. He’s going to play with our Manitoba scout Tyson Ramsay with the Brandon Midgets this year and lots of upside, grit, complete game. We project him at 18-19 to be a top tier defenceman.
“Today’s about putting as much talent on your list as you can, it’s part of the process of building your team,” said Millar. “It’s not like the NFL Draft where you’re drafting immediate needs and guys are going right into your lineup, it’s about speed, skill, hockey IQ, compete, and we wanted to add as much talent to our 50-man list as we can.”
It’s a long road but Hunt says he hopes to be playing in the NHL one day.
“That’s definitely a dream,” he says. “That’s a long ways down the road right now and right now I have to focus and take every day as it comes and just work hard.”
He says growing up in Moosomin and the Moosomin minor hockey program had a big impact on him.
“Growing up in Moosomin I knew all the guys since I was very young. I grew up with them and it’s just been a place where everyone supports everyone and it’s a place I call home,” he says. “And I’m happy to go back to Saskatchewan and go play at home.”
Poole a sixth round draft pick
Another local player picked up in Thursday’s draft was 14-year-old Jake Poole from McAuley, Manitoba.
Poole was a sixth round draft pick chosen 127th overall by the Kelowna Rockets. Poole—standing at six feet and weighing 169 lbs—plays right wing with the Bantam AAA Yellowhead Chiefs, and earned 77 points with 36 goals and 41 assists during 36 games this season.