June 14th, 2024

Hurricanes sign top prospects

By Lethbridge Herald on May 21, 2024.

Herald photo by Justin Seward Tyden Lafournaise, Reid Soper, Leif Oaten and Cohen Pentney sit alongside Hurricanes general manager Peter Anholt at the signing event Tuesday at the Enmax Centre.

By Justin Seward

Lethbridge Herald

The Lethbridge Hurricanes secured some of their future on Tuesday with the signing of their top four prospects from the 2024 Prospects Draft at the Enmax Centre.

The Canes signed their top four picks in Tyden Lafournaise, Reid Soper, Leif Oaten and Cohen Pentney to WHL Scholarship and Development Agreements.

Lafournaise was the team’s top pick at 13th overall and he provided a glimpse of his potential last season when he had 126 points (60 goals, 66 assists) with the Winnipeg Bruins U15 AAA team and added another six points in four regular season games with the U17AAA Bruins.

“Offence is kind of what I like to do,” said Lafournaise.

“ [I am] not afraid to keep the puck out of my own net as well but like to drive the offence and like to put the puck in the net as well.”

He wasn’t sure if felt the extra pressure being a first-round pick.

“No matter where you get drafted in the draft, it’s kind of a snap shot of time,” he said.

“The hard work starts now and you got to earn everything you get.”

Lafournaise said it’s incredible here, when asked about the first impressions of the team.

“You kind of feel like you’re in an NHL rink, and just the organization ,and the rooms and everything here is just top notch,” said Lafournaise.

 “All the staff is just top notch and like I said before I just can’t wait to be a Hurricane and hopefully play here in the next couple of years.”

Canes fan can get used to a player that plays with speed, a teammate that likes to better other players, a shooter and a player that wants to win in Lafournaise.

The 6’2” 193-pound Soper was selected 32nd overall and produced 10 points (four goals, six assists) from the blueline with the Northern Alberta Xtreme U15 Prep Team and also helped his team capture  a CSSHL U15 Championship.

“I believe a  big thing for a defenceman is being able to take away passing lanes,” said  Soper.

“I like to take the body, I like to use my size to my advantage in puck battles, and I like to make hits but obviously that’s not the biggest concern all the time.”

Soper thinks a good first pass and having  quick breakouts.

“I think good offence comes from good defence,” he said.

Soper found out he got drafted while writing a science test.

“I didn’t know for a bit but when I got drafted I heard people screaming in the class beside me, so I ended up just writing A,B,A,B and I ran out,” said Soper.

The 6’1 175-pound Oaten was the first goalie taken in the draft at 58th overall by the Canes.

He appeared in 12 regular season games with the Edge U15 Prep Team and finished  11-1 record, a 2.90 goals against average and a .914 save percentage.

He had  a 2-0-1 record in three playoff games  while sporting a 3.91 goals against average and an .879 save per centage.

“Just becoming more quicker and stronger in my movements, and just being good positioned and just making every save I can for my team and helping them win every game,” said Oaten, on  his focus during the season leading up to the draft.

Oaten was asked about how it felt to go to a team that has fate in him.

“The biggest thing for me is going to a team that had high hopes for me and was high on me,” said Oaten.

Like Lafournaise, Cohen Pentney is another offensive flare at the centre ice position from the Calgary U15 Flames that the Canes selected at 80th overall.

The 5’9”, 135-pound Pentney has 27 goals and 32 assists for 59 points to lead the team in those offensive categories while finishing fifth in league scoring and added two goals with the U17 team.

“I like to take myself as a 200-foot player [that] can contribute on both ends of the ice,” said Pentney.

“It helps putting up points on the board for the team. So I like to do that too.”

Pentney has a connection coming to Lethbridge.

“My dad’s  actually from here, so I was super happy when they called my name on the  draft day,” said Pentney.

Hurricanes general manager Peter Anholt spoke about the excitement of the team signing these prospects.

“I think we’ve been really, really fortunate with our signings,” said Anholt.

“They’re good players and more importantly they come from good families, they’re good people and I think leadership and character can override a lot of things and I think we see them as good players. But the character and the leadership has to come through also because they’re going to be faced with a lot of adversity over the years ,and there’s lots of valleys, there’s lots of hills. Hopefully there’s way more highs than lows but there’s lots of times to build character right and continue to build on that character.”

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