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Seattle Thunderbirds select high-scoring center with top draft pick | Hockey

The Seattle Thunderbirds drafted Mathew Barzal with the first pick in the 2012 Western Hockey League Bantam Draft. - COURTESY PHOTO
The Seattle Thunderbirds drafted Mathew Barzal with the first pick in the 2012 Western Hockey League Bantam Draft.
— image credit: COURTESY PHOTO

The Seattle Thunderbirds selected center Mathew Barzal with the first overall pick Thursday in the 2012 Western Hockey League Bantam Draft.

"We are very excited to add Mathew Barzal to our team today," said Thunderbirds General Manager Russ Farwell from the draft in Calgary, Alberta. "Mathew has true star potential and will be a very exciting player for our fans to watch develop.

"He has a style all his own and plays the game at a pace that is truly fun to watch. He has been a dominant player for a number of years and his package of skill and winning attitude will have a tremendous influence on our team from top to bottom."

Barzal, 15, from Coquitlam, British Columbia, is 5 feet 10 inches and 160 pounds. He played with the Burnaby Winter Club Bantam A team last season. In 35 regular season games Barzal had 39 goals and 68 assists for 107 points.

In 17 playoff games this past season he had 46 points on 16 goals and 30 assists. He is a right-hand shot.

The order of selection in the first round was determined through a weighted lottery between the six non-playoff teams. The draft order was based in the inverse overall standings from the regular season.

The Thunderbirds finished with a 25-45-2 record last season, missing the playoffs for the third straight season. Eight of the 10 WHL teams advance to the playoffs. Seattle has finished ninth three years in a row.

Players eligible for this year's bantam draft were born in 1997. They become eligible to play in the WHL in the 2013-14 season.

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