Regina Pats win WHL draft lottery, could pick 'exceptional player'

CALGARY — The Regina Pats have won the Western Hockey League's draft lottery.

The Pats now get the No. 1 selection in the league's bantam draft on April 22.

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Regina had the best odds of winning the lottery Wednesday after making a trade to acquire the first-round pick of the last-place Swift Current Broncos.

The league puts the lowest six teams into the lottery, giving each team a certain amount of balls (with the worst teams having more).

Only one ball is picked — and that team moves up a maximum of two spots. The Prince George Cougars had their ball picked, allowing them to move up to No. 2 from No. 4.

The Moose Jaw Warriors will select third.

The Pats now will have the first shot to select forward Connor Bedard, the first player to be given exceptional status in the WHL, allowing the native of North Vancouver, B.C., to suit up a year early.

The WHL announced Bedard's exceptional-player status on Tuesday night. He becomes the seventh player in Canadian Hockey League history to earn the status.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 25, 2020

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