With 20 players already protected by the Tri-City Storm entering the 2012 USHL Entry Draft, the Storm added some additional key talent for the upcoming season. RW Garrett Gamez became the Storm’s first pick and eighth overall selection in the entry draft Tuesday night.
The Storm drafted 11 players – seven forwards, three defensemen, and one goalie.
Gamez, who is a 5-foot-11 and 165-pound forward, had 27 goals and 28 assists in 40 games last season playing for the L.A. Jr. Kings U16 midget minor team. The 17-year old native of Chino Hills, Calif., led the Jr. Kings in every major offensive category last season.
“We are thrilled to get Garrett,” said Storm GM/Head Coach Josh Hauge. “He was a player we tried to add around Christmas this past season, but he was a loyal kid to the team he was playing with (Jr. Kings U16).”
“We are excited that we are getting a character individual to come in and be a solid contributor right away.”
After making Gamez the first selection in the first round, the Storm did not select again until the third round. In the third round, the Storm drafted C Jason Cotton from the Colorado Thunderbirds U16 with the 35th overall pick. Cotton, from Murphy, Texas, had 15 goals and 24 assists in 40 games last season.
“Cotton is a big, strong, physical forward, who has exceptional hands,” said Hauge about his third round pick. “He should help the depth of our team next season and adds a lot of potential.”
Each USHL team stopped drafting players once they reached 23 protected players, and resumed drafting players upon every team reaching the 23-man mark. The draft concluded once every team had 30 players protected.
In the second phase of the entry draft, the Storm selected G Philip Lehr in the 19th round (275th overall). Lehr has played international hockey with the German U18 and U19 teams. The 18-year old from Berlin is 5-foot-11 and 160 pounds and played last season for RT Bad Nauheim in the Germany 3 league. Lehr will play for Germany’s World Junior U20 team this season, and will miss a month with the Storm.
Hauge and the hockey operations staff will now prepare for the June main camp in Las Vegas, Nev. The main camp will determine which players will come into training camp in Sept. 1, 2012.