WILLCOX GOES 141st IN 2012 NHL ENTRY DRAFT
Eighteen-year-old former Cents’ defenseman Reece Willcox was selected 141st overall by the Philadelphia Flyers in the fifth round of this year’s NHL Entry Draft, held in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on June 22-23.
Willcox is the first-ever Merritt Centennials’ player to be chosen by the Flyers, and the highest drafted Centennial since Casey Pierro-Zabotel went 80th overall to the Pittsburgh Penguins in 2007.
“It is an amazing feeling getting drafted, especially to a great franchise like Philadelphia,” stated Willcox in a press release issued Saturday. “As proud as my family and I are, this is just the beginning, and I need to work hard to get a chance to play for the Flyers in the future.”
In just his second full season of BCHL hockey, the cool and collected Willcox doubled his offensive output from his rookie campaign, scoring five times and adding 18 assists for 23 points. Willcox was also a member of the Canada West team that won the gold medal at the 2011 World Junior A Challenge held in Langley last November.
An excellent student, Willcox has signed a letter of intent to play NCAA Division I hockey at Cornell University beginning in September.
In addition to Willcox, there were four other BCHL players taken in this year’s NHL Entry Draft. Prince George’s Jujhar Khaira was taken 63rd by the Edmonton Oilers. Powell River Kings’ netminder Sean Maguire went 113th to the Pittsburgh Penguins. Coquitlam Express forward Alex Kerfoot was selected 150th by the New Jersey Devils, and finally Wesley Myron of the Victoria Grizzlies went 177th overall to the Vancouver Canucks.
Also chosen in the 2012 Entry Draft by the Oilers with the 123rd pick was former Penticton Vees’ defenseman Joey Laleggia. The Burnaby native has just completed his first season at the University of Denver. His 11 goals and 25 assists for 38 points earned him WCHA rookie-of-the-year honors.