Saskatoon, SK – It was a milestone event this Spring for the Saskatoon Blades at the WHL Bantam Draft, who for the first time in franchise history selected 5 players within the first 42 picks. It was also the fourth time in franchise history the Blades held two first round picks, but the main milestone happened today. The Saskatoon Blades are extremely proud to announce the signings of our 2017 1st round Bantam Draft picks Aidan De La Gorgendiere, Kyle Crnkovic, and 2nd round pick Braden Plaschewsky. This marks the first time Saskatoon has signed two 1st round draft picks on the same day.
On Wednesday afternoon in the Blades dressing room at SaskTel Centre, Blades GM Colin Priestner introduced Aidan De La Gorgendiere and Kyle Crnkovic to those in attendance before completing the contract signing and presenting the players with their first Saskatoon Blades jersey.
De La Gorgendiere, originally from Langley, British Columbia, was selected 5th overall by the Blades in the 2017 Bantam Draft. He says it was not only an easy decision to sign with the Blades, but also because of the Bridge City connection with his family. Saskatoon is where both Aidan’s parents grew up. “It’s pretty cool, I have a lot of family here, my grandparents live here and aunts and uncles, so it’s really exciting,” said De La Gorgendiere after signing his contract. “Right away as soon as I got drafted I knew I wanted to play here,” explained Aidan.
Kyle Crnkovic was picked 10th overall by the Blades on May 4th at the WHL Bantam Draft. The speedy forward from Chestermere, Alberta, is described as a special player with explosive speed and exceptional offensive talent. Crnkovic notched 40 goals and 39 assists this past season with the Pursuit of Excellence Hockey Academy in Kelowna, British Columbia in just 30 regular season games. “It’s what I’ve always wanted to do, so to be able to have this happen is amazing,” said Kyle after signing his WHL Standard Player Agreement.
Blades General Manager Colin Priestner expressed his excitement for the future after being able to lock down two first round picks in such short order. “To get a couple first round picks like this, and to sign them so quickly it’s a big relief for me honestly,” said Priestner following the player signings. “From the first game I watched Aidan I knew we needed that guy on the Blades, and then to get Crnkovic at 10… his speed is off the charts, he’s a sniper, he’s just remarkable to watch.”
The Blades then announced the signing of 2nd round pick, Braden Plaschewsky, who was selected 31st overall with the pick acquired from the Red Deer Rebels in exchange for Mason McCarty. Plaschewsky, a Calgary native, said he was super excited to find out he was drafted. “I’ve followed the draft for the past two or three years, and to be a part of it and actually get drafted is unreal,” Plaschewsky was at a loss for words when asked how he felt putting ink to paper on his WHL Standard Player Agreement. “Amazing… no words can explain it,” he said. “He’s big, he competes hard, he’s got a ton of skill and we feel he’s a great compliment to some of the other players we have in our organization,” added Priestner when asked about Plaschewsky.
All three players are expected to be back in Saskatoon at the end of August for training camp in preparation of the 2017-18 season.