Victoria Royals trade blue-liner Nolan Bentham to Hurricanes

Nolan Bentham had the rare opportunity to play for his hometown Western Hockey League team. But that portion of his career turned out to be brief as the first-round WHL draft pick was shipped Thursday by the Victoria Royals to the Lethbridge Hurricanes.

The six-foot-three blue-liner, out of the Racquet Club of Victoria, was selected 13th overall by the Royals in the 2018 U-15 draft. He did not play in the abbreviated 2021 B.C. Division bubble season in Kelowna and Kamloops. The Royals provided no reason for his absence. Bentham has a goal and three points in 52 career games with the Royals and played for Canada Black at the 2019 World U-17 Hockey Challenge and B.C. at the 2019 Canada Winter Games.

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Victoria received a second-round selection in the 2024 WHL U-15 draft and seventh- and eighth-round picks in the 2022 draft. The Royals also received the playing rights to 17-year-old Chase LaPinta from Frisco, Texas, a five-foot-seven, 148-pound forward who had six goals and 12 points in 12 games for the Dallas Stars Elite U-16 AAA team during the 2020-21 season.

“This is a great opportunity for Nolan in Lethbridge,” said Royals GM and head coach Dan Price.

“This is a good hockey trade for both sides. We have a deep defensive corps.”

LaPinta was taken 164th overall by the Hurricanes in the eighth round of the 2019 WHL U-15 draft.

“He is a skilled centre,” said Price.

LaPinta’s WHL stock would have been much higher but he is committed to the Arizona State Sun Devils of the NCAA for 2023-24. Price knows how he will pitch the native of Wichita, Kansas, who was part of the USA U-15 program.

“The CHL and WHL [the WHL is one of three CHL member leagues] are the premier development leagues in the world. If you want to play in the NHL, this is the best place to be,” said Price.

cdheensaw@timescolonist.com

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