The WHL Draft is held annually by the WHL to provide an orderly transfer of players to WHL Club Protected Player Lists (PPL). Once a player is selected by a WHL Club, he can only participate in tryout camps and other team activities for that Club. To attend the camp of another Club, the player must be dropped from his current Club’s PPL.
The WHL Draft is typically held on the first Thursday in May, at which time WHL Clubs select players who have graduated from the U15 age category. In the 2021 WHL Draft, 2006 born players will be eligible to be selected. All players in the proper age group and WHL territory are automatically eligible for the Draft, and do not need to file any sort of paperwork with the WHL Office.
WHL Draft Territory
Alberta – British Columbia – Manitoba – Northwest Territories – Saskatchewan – Yukon
Alaska – Arizona – California – Colorado – Hawaii – Idaho – Kansas – Minnesota – Montana – Nebraska – Nevada – New Mexico – North Dakota – Oklahoma – Oregon – South Dakota – Texas – Utah – Washington – Wyoming
The WHL Draft order of selection is determined by where a WHL Club finishes in the WHL Regular Season standings. The Clubs that miss the playoffs are placed into a lottery to determine the selection order for the first round only. After the first round, the Clubs select in order from the fewest to most regular season points.
While the WHL Draft is the first opportunity for teams to select graduating U15 players, it is not the last chance for a player to be listed or recruited by a WHL Club. After the Draft is completed, all remaining U15 players become eligible to be listed by WHL Clubs, and many will be added as spots become available on a WHL Club PPL, or as player development improves at a higher level of hockey.
While the WHL Draft is an exciting day for young players, it is important to realize that many excellent players will not be selected on Draft day. For those players not selected, they will still have the opportunity to attend a WHL Training Camp and play in the League in the near future. Players who went undrafted and went on to become WHL and NHL stars include:
Jamie Benn Shane Doan Tyler Ennis Jarome Iginla Shea Weber
107 WHL GP 174 WHL GP 245 WHL GP 183 WHL GP 190 WHL GP
814 NHL GP 1, 540 NHL GP 613 NHL GP 1, 554 NHL GP 990 NHL GP