Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Winterhawks sign top pick

Press Release

The Portland Winterhawks have announced the signing of defenseman Derrick Pouliot (pronounced Poo-lee-ott), the top overall draft choice in last month’s Western Hockey League Bantam Draft.

Pouliot, a native of Weyburn, Saskatchewan, will take part in the team’s prospect camp in Calgary in June, and will join the Winterhawks for training camp in August. He could also play in the preseason tournament in Everett before reporting to his midget team. Pouliot is eligible to play five games for the Winterhawks in 2009-10 while his midget team is in season, then can join the team for the remainder of the season following his midget campaign. He is then eligible to join Portland full-time for the 2010-11 season.

“I’m very excited to have signed my first WHL contract, especially with the Portland Winterhawks because they have a great coaching staff that I’m really looking forward to working with,” said Pouliot. “I’ve been dreaming about this for a while and I’m excited about the opportunity to contribute to the team.”

“We’re thrilled to have Derrick under contract. He has the potential to be an anchor for our defense and will be a big part of our future,” said Winterhawks General Manager and Head Coach Mike Johnston. “He will gain valuable experience this summer at both our prospects camp and training camp that will give him an idea of what lies ahead of him in the WHL.”

Pouliot played for Weyburn in the South Saskatchewan Minor Hockey League last season. In 26 regular season games Pouliot registered 25 goals and a team-high 38 assists for 63 total points, second on his team and sixth in the league. In five playoff games, Pouliot added a team-high five goals and an assist for a team-high six points. At the Weyburn Minor Hockey awards night in April, Pouliot was selected as his team’s MVP.

Pouliot’s accomplishments and honors in the 2008-09 season include:

– Selected as the tournament MVP and a member of the tournament’s “All-Star Line” at the Graham Tuer Bantam AA Challenge in Regina, Saskatchewan.
- Selected as the Top Defenseman and a member of the tournament’s “All-Star Line” at the Hockey Hounds Major Bantam Tournament in Medicine Hat, Alberta.
- Called up by the Moose Jaw Warriors AAA midget team to play in the prestigious Mac’s Midget Hockey Tournament in Calgary, Alberta, and recorded three goals and two assists for five points in four games.
– Selected to the tournament’s “All-Star Line” at the GSHL Bantam AA Invitational in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.
– Selected as the “Top Defenseman” and a member of the tournament’s “All-Star Line” at the Western Canadian Bantam Championships in Weyburn, Saskatchewan.

(Nathan also is a writer for Maineiacs Post to Post and the Maine Hockey Journal. He can be reached at fourniern@students.nescom.edu)

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