The Victoria Royals took forwards Rui Han and Zach Spagnuolo in the U.S. priority draft. (Courtesy of Victoria Royals)

The Victoria Royals took forwards Rui Han and Zach Spagnuolo in the U.S. priority draft. (Courtesy of Victoria Royals)

Victoria Royals take forwards from California, Texas in U.S. draft

Royals will have the third-overall pick in Thursday’s main draft

The Victoria Royals selected forwards from California and Texas in the Western Hockey League’s U.S. priority draft on Wednesday.

The local squad took Rui Han with the seventh overall pick. The 15-year-old forward who hails from San Diego, Calif. had 20 goals and 15 assists over 20 Canadian School Sport Hockey League games.

His great speed and a quick and accurate shot make him a valuable scoring threat, said the Royals’ scouting director.

“He’s great in traffic, knows how to get to scoring areas, and demonstrates the ability to finish when he gets there,” said Ed Fowler. “We’re looking forward to building a relationship with Rui and his family, and we feel he can become an excellent goal-scoring forward, who is also effective on the defensive side of the puck.”

In the second round, Victoria went with Zach Spagnuolo of Dallas, Texas. The Royals say apart from his 6’, 170-pound frame, the forward’s versatility and 200-foot game make Spagnuolo stand out.

“Zach is primarily a centre who controls the middle of the ice well and is tough to beat in the faceoff circle,” Fowler said. “But he is effective in all areas of all three zones. He is a hard worker who uses his size, power and athleticism to his advantage, and his touch with the puck is impressive.”

The U.S. priority draft allows WHL teams to secure the rights to the top hockey talents from 20 American states. The Royals have the third-overall pick in the WHL prospects draft on Thursday.

READ: ‘Rushed’: Are the Vancouver Canucks not properly developing draft picks?


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Victoria RoyalsWestern Hockey League