The Victoria Western Hockey League (WHL) franchise is proud to announce that defenseman Joe Hicketts has been named the teams first ever selection with the 12th overall pick in the first round of the 2011 WHL Bantam Draft.

The Kamloops, BC native spent his 2010-11 season as captain of the Kamloops Jardine Blazers Bantam AAA where he recorded 59 points (18g-41a) and 54 minutes in penalties in 51 games played. Hicketts also had a rating of +98 and topped his team with 300 hits and 33 shot blocks. In the playoffs, Hicketts amassed 12 points (7g-5a) with eight penalty minutes while leading his team in hits (45) and blocked shots (9).

Hicketts and the Blazers took home the Okanagan Mainline Amateur Hockey Association (OMAHA) regular season and playoff championship, while also winning the provincial championship with a 4-3 overtime win in Kelowna.

The 5-6, 169 lb defender helped lead his team to victory this season in the Kamloops International Bantam Ice Hockey Tournament (KIBIHT) and was selected as the tournament’s top defenseman and member of the First All-Star Team. Hicketts also attended the 48th Annual International Bantam Christmas tournament in Burnaby and was named Most Outstanding Defenseman and a member of the First All-Star Team. Additionally, Hicketts was named the Most Valuable Player and top defenseman as his team won the gold medal at the John Reid Memorial Bantam Tournament in St. Albert, AB.

At the 2011 U-16 BC Cup last month, Hicketts led all defenseman across the 10-team tournament with five points (1g-4a).

Victoria still holds 13 remaining picks in the WHL Bantam Draft including three in the next two rounds at #34, #55 and #56 (from a trade with Brandon). The team will also select in the following positions; #67 (from a trade with Calgary), #100, #122, #144, #176 (from a trade with Saskatoon), #188, #210, #232, #298 and #320.

The WHL Bantam Draft is an annual outing, in which the Club’s of the Western Hockey League select players who have graduated from bantam. The draft’s order of selection depends on where the team finishes in the League standings. The Club’s that miss the playoffs are placed into a lottery for the 1st round only. After the 1st round, the Club’s select in order from fewest to most regular season points.

During the bantam draft, players from the four Western Provinces and the states of Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Kansas, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Washington and Wyoming are eligible to be selected. For the 2011 bantam draft, players born in 1996 may be selected.

The WHL is returning to Victoria this fall! Give yourself the best chance to get the seats you want today by booking a Priority Reference Number (PRN). Each $25 PRN purchase holds your spot in line until seat selection for the 2011-12 season begins! For further details or to purchase a PRN, visit the Select Your Tickets Box Office,, e-mail, or call 250-220-7777.

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