Royals Select Cruz Waltze and Odin Vauhkonen in 2023 U.S. Priority Draft
The Victoria Royals selected two players in the 2023 WHL U.S. Priority Draft on Wednesday
The Victoria Royals selected two players in the 2023 WHL U.S. Priority Draft on Wednesday. The Royals held the 2nd overall selection after moving up in the WHL U.S. Priority Draft Lottery, held on March 29th, as well as the 25th overall selection in the 2nd round.
With the 2nd overall pick the Royals selected forward Cruz Waltze out of RINK Hockey Academy Kelowna U15 Prep. Waltze tallied 24 goals and 22 assists for 46 points in 28 games during the 2022-23 season. Waltze led RINK Hockey Academy Kelowna U15 Prep in playoff scoring and tied for first in CSSHL U15 Playoff scoring, tallying 14 points in 5 playoff games. Hailing from Richland, Washington, Waltze stands at 5’9 and 150lbs.
Royals Assistant General Manager and Director of Player Personnel, J.F. Best, expressed his excitement welcoming Waltze to the organization: “We are thrilled to be able to select Cruz with the 2nd overall pick and welcome him and his family to Victoria. Cruz is a well-rounded person who’s had a great year at the U15 level and raised his game during the CSSHL playoffs. As a player, he combines a tenacious compete level with playmaking and a deft touch around the net. It will be fun to watch him develop in the years to come.”
With the 25th overall pick the Royals selected defenceman Odin Vauhkonen out of Shattuck St. Mary’s 14U AAA. Vauhkonen tallied 11 goals and 36 assists for 47 points in 56 games during the 2022-23 season. Vauhkonen hails from Newport Beach, California and stands at 6’0 and 165lbs.
“We are very happy to be able to select Odin. He is a solid two-way defenseman who possesses good vision and poise. Away from the puck, Odin is a reliable defender who does not shy away from using his physicality to defend,” said Royals Assistant General Manager and Director of Player Personnel, J.F. Best.
Players eligible for the 2023 WHL U.S. Priority Draft were 2008-born players who hold residence in Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Kansas, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Washington or Wyoming. Players not selected in the U.S. Priority Draft remain eligible for the WHL Prospects Draft, taking place on Thursday May 11th
About the Victoria Royals
The Victoria Royals are a Canadian major junior ice hockey club in the Western Hockey League (WHL) owned and operated by GSL Group. The Royals play all their home games at Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre and have entered their 12th season of their existence.
About Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre
Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre (SOFMC) is designed, constructed, developed and operated by GSL Group. SOFMC is Victoria’s premier entertainment facility and the largest arena in British Columbia outside Vancouver. The state-of-the-art 7,000 seat facility is home to the Victoria Royals of the Western Hockey League and regularly hosts large-scale concerts and other special events such as figure skating, curling, plays, trade shows and conferences. SOFMC also features a fine dining Lion’s Den Restaurant, as well as retail and meeting space.