TOPEKA, Kan. – The Topeka RoadRunners announced Tuesday that Minnesota-born goaltender Cole Weaver has been selected as the team’s first-round selection (3rd overall) in the 2017 North American Hockey League draft.
Weaver, 19, played last season for Winkler in the MJHL (Manitoba) as was the league’s Rookie of the Year. He was also second-team MJHL. Weaver went 24-12 with the Flyers and finished with a .906 save percentage and a 2.49 goals-against average.
“All of the boxes were checked off with Cole,” said Topeka GM Joe Clark. “His work ethic is high-end, and he has the capabilities of being a solid goalie in the NAHL. We are excited to have him compete for a spot here.”
The RoadRunners also selected defenseman Sammy Martel, a 1999-born defenseman from the Chicago Fury program with their early 3rd-round pick, and utilized another 3rd-round pick for forward Travis Schneider (Highland Park, IL) who played for Prince George in the BCHL last season. Topeka finished the draft with its 4thround pick, selecting defenseman Charlie Raithe, a 20-year-old defense that has played the past 3 seasons in the USHL (Chicago Steel, Bloomington).
“We are happy with this draft, said Clark. “We think we have set ourselves up for some depth at all positions, which is not an easy thing to do at this level.”
Weaver, from Champlin Park, Minn., becomes a rarity for the RoadRunners.
“I can’t remember the last time Topeka has selected a goaltender in the NAHL draft,” said Topeka head coach Josh Kamrass. “But as soon as Cole made it clear he would return to the US, we couldn’t pass.”
Kamrass said the RoadRunners still have another goaltending spot to fill as both of last year’s netminders – Ben Churchfield and Ryan Snowden – have moved up and on. Topeka is preparing for its main camp, to be held July 6-9 in Chicago.
“We know our camp will be competitive,” said Kamrass. “Our veterans will be there, and we obviously have plenty of room for improvement from last season.”