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Tuesday , 5 July 2022

Austin Wentz and Carson Croteau selected in the WHL Draft

The hockey pipeline in Bonnyville continues.

Two Bonnyville area products, forward Austin Wentz and defenseman Carson Croteau, were selected in the Western Hockey League Bantam Draft on May 19th.

Wentz was taken in the 8th Round, 162 overall by the Moose Jaw Warriors and Croteau in the 11th Round, 227th overall by the Kelowna Rockets.

They were teammates on the Lloyd Bobcats U15AAA squad last season.

How they found out though may have drawn their teacher’s ire.

“I was in a math class. We were writing a unit exam and all of a sudden it came up and the teacher got a little mad when kids started coming into class and stuff. But, you know, it’s once in a lifetime experience,” said Wentz.

“Being selected to Moose Jaw, it just was pure excitement.”

Croteau shared those sentiments as an hour or so later, he saw his name under the Kelowna Rockets banner.

“It was just very relieving. I was waiting, waiting, waiting and then I saw my name and everything came off my shoulders. Ever since then, I’ve been playing my best and it’s been easier for me,” he said.

Wentz had put together a 9 goal, 13 assist campaign this past season and drew provincial attention for his exploits. He was selected for tryouts and eventually made an Alberta Cup team at the end of April, which featured the top 2007-born players in a tournament format.

Wentz was on the winning team to boot.

Austin Wentz, right, with teammate Aiden Foster, left, after winning the Alberta Cup. Foster was a teammate on the Bobcats and was taken in the 3rd Round by Prince George. Image: Rohan Bobcats.

“Just the experience and the joy when we won that cup and it was a shootout, so you never would really think it would go to a shootout, but it was just incredible. No words to really describe it,” he said.

As far as what the future holds, it’s up in the air for both of them, with decisions to be made closer to the fall.

From the blueline, Croteau scored 6 goals and added 10 assists in the first year with the Bobcats after a stint in the shortened 2020-21 season with the Lakeland Panthers U15AA squad.

He knows at the very least he’ll try and strap on the skates and work on his game some more.

“I’m still undecided. Really wherever I think I’d want to go I could. I am planning on moving away here so I won’t be in Bonnyville next year, so that will be tough,” said Croteau, who along with Wentz, commuted multiple times a week for practices, and then on the weekends for games.

“At the moment right now, I’m not sure,” said Wentz. “Just keeping my options open. Just looking for somewhere where I can develop. But hopefully we’ll know by end of the summer or even middle of it.”

About Michael Menzies

Menzies is the editor-at-large for Connected Media Inc. Born and raised in Vermilion, he started in May 2018 during his NAIT Radio and Television practicum and reports on local politics, sports, and community issues. He became the Bonnyville Pontiacs play-by-play voice during the 2019-20 season. He also comments on provincial and national issues. Menzies hosts Connected! Evening Monday-Thursday at 5 o’clock. He also likes to buy books and read some of them.