Revelstoke native Seth Bafaro has become the first local minor hockey player to be drafted into the Western Hockey League since 2009.
Bafaro, who turns 14 next weekend, was picked in the third round, 49th overall, by the Tri-City Americans in the WHL Bantam Draft on Tuesday, May 5.
“It feels pretty good,” he told the Review. “I’ve heard good things from players about them. They always have a good team and good development.”
The 5’10”, 160-pound defenceman recorded eight goals and 20 assists in 55 games while playing for the Okanagan Hockey Academy Bantam Prep team this year.
He described himself as a “good skating defenceman that keeps it simple and makes a good first pass out of the zone.”
Bafaro grew up playing for Revelstoke Minor Hockey before moving on, first to Kamloops for his first year of Bantam, then to the Okanagan Hockey Academy this past season to develop his game.
“I think Revelstoke is helpful because you can go on the ice whenever you want,” said Bafaro.
Moving up to the academy has represented a big step. “I definitely improved a lot from working out every day, going on the ice every day, and really good coaching.”
Barclay Parneta, the Americans’ head scout, said Bafaro had a strong work ethic and good hockey sense.
“He has shown the ability to add offence, get plays moving up the ice, and distribute the puck to the right spot,” said Parneta in an e-mail. “Off-ice character was also very important. We know he has a strong support network at home, with a great family father that played the game and understands what it takes.”
Bafaro’s dream is to make the NHL one day. He still has one more year of minor hockey before he can play in the WHL. This season, he wants to continue to work on his game and play as many junior games as possible as a 15-year-old.
Bradon Seyl was the last Revelstoke native to be drafted when he was selected by the Kelowna Rockets in the fourth round in 2009.
Bafaro follows in the footsteps of his father Mike, who played in the WHL for the New Westminster Bruins, the team that eventually became the Tri-City Americans.