The Winkler Flyers welcomed 10 new players to the fold at the 2015 Manitoba Junior Hockey League Bantam Draft held in Neepawa on Sunday. The Orange and Black took centre Tate Popple with their first pick, eighth overall and also protected locals Carter Wall and Sven Schefer.

This year’s MJHL Bantam Draft took place at the Roxy Theatre in Neepawa and for the first time, was televised on NACTV. The Flyers had eight picks in the six round draft as well as two auto-protects from Winkler. The players eligible for the draft this season were born in the year 2000.

The Flyers selected four forwards, three defensemen, and a goaltender in the draft.

Below is a complete list of the Flyers eight picks in the six round Bantam Draft as well as the two auto-protects.


Carter Wall (00) – Winkler, MB – Defense – 5’6” 135lbs.
Competes well and has good hockey sense. Played the 2014-15 season with the Northlands Parkway Collegiate Nighthawks of the Zone 4 High School Hockey League. Had four points (1 goal – 3 assists) in 24 games played in 2014-15.

Sven Schefer (00) – Winkler, MB – Forward – 5’8” 140lbs
Reliable, two way player who works hard. He had 8 points (2 goals – 6 assists) in 32 games played with the Pembina Valley Hawks AAA Bantam team in 2014-15.

Draft Round 1-6

Round One – 8th Overall – Tate Popple (00) – Brandon, MB – Centre – 5’6”, 135lbs.

Excellent two pay player, responsible defensively with offensive upside. Great leadership skills. He had 44 points (18 goals – 26 assists) in 31 games played with the Brandon AAA Bantam Wheat Kings in the 2014-15 season.

Round Two – 19th Overall – Kyle Lang (00) – Winnipeg, MB – Centre – 5’7’, 131lbs

Dynamic skilled player who makes those around him better. Has the ability to score and has great hockey instincts. He had 32 points (17 goals – 15 assists) in 32 games with the Winnipeg Warriors in the 2014-15 season.

Round Three – 29th Overall – Drae Esposito (00) – Winnipeg, MB – Defense – 6’3”, 174lbs

Big, puck moving defenseman who plays well in his own end. Is tough to play against. Had 24 points (5 goals -19 assists) in 29 games in 2014-15 with the Winnipeg Monarchs.

Round Three – 30th Overall – Trent Halfdanson (00) – Winnipeg, MB – Right Wing – 5’10”, 137lbs.

Gritty Right Winger who plays a physical game and skates well. Had 24 points (17 goals -7 assists) in 31 games played with the Winnipeg Hawks in 2014-15.

Round Four – 34th Overall – Riley Johnson (00) – Winnipeg, MB – Centre – 5’8”, 120lbs

Small, skilled two-way playmaker with great speed. He had 24 points (8 goals -16 assists) in 31 games played with Winnipeg Hawks in 2014-15.

Round Four – 41st Overall – Carson McConnell (00) – Pilot Mound, MB – Defense – 5’11”, 163lbs

Left handed puck moving defenseman, plays physical, defends well in his own end. Had six points (1 goals – 5 assists) in 31 points with the Pembina Valley Bantam AAA Hawks in 2014-15.

Round Five – 52nd Overall – Montana Onyebuchi (00) – Dugald, MB – Defense – 6’1”, 180lbs.

Big, strong, active defenseman who plays a very physical game. Plays with passion and intensity. Had 15 points (5 goals – 10 assists) in 32 games played with 80 penalty minutes.

Round Six – 63rd Overall – Zachary Bennett (00) – Winnipeg, MB – Goaltender – 5’9”, 139lbs

Solid technical goalie, very good in traffic, competes well and makes a good first save. Has the potential to be a top end tier two player. Had a (5-11) record with the Winnipeg Sharks in 2014-15 with a 2.79 GAA and a .898 save percentage. He also posted two shutouts in 17 games played.

The Flyers would like to officially welcome all the players and their families to the Flyers organization and look forward to seeing them in an Orange and Black uniform in the future.