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Duo of Cochranites selected in WHL Draft

Hunter Sawka and Ethan Neutens were selected in the 2020 WHL Bantam Draft.

CALGARY — Two local athletes were selected to junior level teams during the 2020 Western Hockey League Bantam Draft on Wednesday (April 22).

Hunter Sawka, a 14-year-old forward with the Edge School Bantam Prep team, was selected in the fifth round, 91st overall by the Calgary Hitmen. Sawka finished this past year with 21 goals and 27 assists for 48 points in 30 games. 

"Hunter is very skilled," said Hitmen director of player personnel Dallas Thompson. "He is shifty, can score and has a lot of offensive upsides." 

Sawka remained the lone Cochrane-born player selected until the middle of the ninth round where Airdrie Xtreme forward Ethan Neutens was selected by the Kelowna Rockets with the 180th pick.

Neutens registered eight goals and 15 assists in 31 games for the Xtreme this past season. 

Playing minor hockey in Cochrane since he was a first-year Novice, Neutens currently a member of the P3 Hockey Academy at Cochrane High School.

"When I was drafted I was beyond excited. Everything I worked for over the past few years really paid off because being drafted is a big deal.  What makes it better is that I was picked by a great team and a great organization, and if I was to get to play, being in Kelowna would be amazing. I had a great year with the Airdrie Xtreme this year and all of my teammates and coaches really helped me become a better player on the ice and a better person off the ice," Neutens said in an email. 

"I am really grateful that I got to wear an A [Assistant Captain] and be a part of such a great team. Being an AP [Affiliate Player] for the [Minor Midget U15] AC Avalanche was also incredible.  The Sutter Cup playoff experience really motivated me.  They tell me that now the real work begins. I think that's true."