Colton Roberts with his parents John and Adrianne on draft day. (Vancouver Giants/Special to The News)

Colton Roberts with his parents John and Adrianne on draft day. (Vancouver Giants/Special to The News)

Maple Ridge player picked in first round by Vancouver Giants

Colton Roberts goes 11th overall in WHL draft

Maple Ridge hockey player Colton Roberts was drafted in the first round of the WHL prospects draft, 11th overall, by the Vancouver Giants.

Roberts is a big 6’3”, 185-pound defenceman who plays for the Delta Hockey Academy under-17 prep team. He was with the Burnaby Winter Club for two years, and his hometown Ridge Meadows Rustlers association before that.

On draft day he had produced five goals and 21 assists in 17 games with Delta, and been called up for a game with the under-18 prep team.

“He’s made tremendous strides this year. He’s a big, strong leader on the ice. He’s got a ton of assists, and can activate a power play,” said Giants general manager Barclay Parneta. “He fits our team’s identity really well, plus he’s a local kid. We’re really excited to welcome Colton Roberts and his family to our organization.”

Roberts was on the ice with his academy team when he was drafted. He helped the coaches pick up the pucks, while his teammates went to check out the WHL draft board on their smart phones.

“I walked into the room, and everyone was yelling ‘Giants prospect!’” he said.

The draft couldn’t have gone better.

“That was my top choice. It’s close to home, and it’s an unreal program,” he said.

The selection of Roberts marks the second consecutive year Vancouver has selected a defenceman in the first round. Previous defencemen selected by the Giants in round one in recent seasons include Bowen Byram in 2016, who is now with the Colorado Avalanche, and Mazden Leslie, who was picked in 2020 and has already played 35 games with the Giants.

If there is an NHL defenceman Roberts would like to emulate, it’s Tampa Bay Lightning star Victor Hedman, or the Montreal Canadiens’ Shea Weber. He aims to play a tough, physical game, but also be able to jump into the offensive play, and put up points.

He competes hard and makes a good first pass, and said the key to his continuing to progress in hockey is going to be making sure his skating continues to improve as he reaches the next level.

Colton credits Ridge Meadows Minor Hockey coaches with helping him become the player he is, particularly Brandon Cox and Bayne Ryshak, he said.

His father John Roberts also coached Colton in his early years. Baseball was John’s first sport – he was a pitcher who went to Oklahoma State on a scholarship.

John said the family used to live in Vancouver, and he would take Colton to Giants games when he was still in diapers. He and wife Adrianne couldn’t be happier than to have their son playing hockey so close to home. He could have been playing a day’s drive away, but instead, he’ll be just over the Golden Ears Bridge at the Langley Events Centre.

“We’re absolutely ecstatic,” said John. “Getting drafted by his hometown WHL team was an absolute dream come true.”

READ ALSO: What does an Olympic diplomatic boycott achieve?

READ ALSO: NHL continues to have ‘real concerns’ regarding Olympic participation


Have a story tip? Email: ncorbett@mapleridgenews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

 

Colton Roberts is an impact player who has been drafted into the WHL 11th overall. (Special to The News)

Colton Roberts is an impact player who has been drafted into the WHL 11th overall. (Special to The News)