As he sat in his English class Wednesday morning at Mead High School, Dylan Lebret quietly checked on his computer to see what was happening with the Western Hockey League draft.
“Nobody else in the class really knew anything about it,” Lebret said.
Then he saw it: His name on the list of players selected in the U.S. priority draft, third overall to the Regina Pats.
“It’s exciting,” the 15-year-old freshman said Wednesday. “It’s what I wanted to do, and it’s kind of nerve-racking.”
Lebret plays for a 14U team based in Los Angeles and travels regularly to play in tournaments.
In a team release, Regina scout Tommy Tartaglione described Lebret as “a calm and smart” defenseman who has “a great breakout pass, and the ability to create offense and score goals.”
Lebret was one of two Washington-born players selected in the draft, which precedes Thursday’s longer prospects draft. Defenseman Vincent Rodriquez, who plays for the Tri-Cities Jr. Americans in Richland, was taken 36th overall by his hometown team, the Americans.
The Spokane Chiefs, whose first pick of the day came at No. 8, didn’t get a chance to do the same with Lebret, who had 27 points in 57 games with the Los Angeles Jr. Kings last season.
The Chiefs selected forward Landon Hafele, from Fairbanks, Alaska, with their initial pick.
Later, with their final pick at 37th overall, the Chiefs took Ryan Denes, a goalie from Saugus, California.
The WHL first held its U.S. priority draft in 2020. To be eligible this year, players had to be born in 2007 and must reside in the United States. Players not selected remain eligible for Thursday’s wider prospects draft, which includes Canadian players .
The Chiefs will pick eighth overall in that event on Thursday. They hold eight picks within the first 100 overall, including one choice in the second round, two in the third, two in the fourth and two in the fifth.
In the past 12 years, three other Spokane-area players have been selected in the WHL draft, and each time it was the Chiefs who selected him. That includes Justin Loepker (in the sixth round in 2011), Kailer Yamamoto (fifth, 2013) and Luke Gallagher (eighth, 2015).
Tyler Johnson, whose No. 9 was retired by the Chiefs earlier this year, was an 11th-round Spokane selection in 2005. Bear Hughes, from Post Falls, and Derek Ryan, from Spokane, both signed with the Chiefs as undrafted junior players.
Lebret will head to Regina for the team’s prospect orientation in June. In the fall, he plans to attend Shattuck-St. Mary’s in Faribault, Minnesota. Six of the 44 players taken in Wednesday’s U.S. priority draft played for Shattuck’s 14U team last season.
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