The Tri-City Storm made history with their first round selection in Phase 2 of the 2013 USHL Draft by selecting forward Chris Wilkie, an Omaha native who will be the first ever player from Nebraska on the club’s roster.
“We were going to take the best player available and that’s what we felt Chris was,” Storm head coach and general manager Josh Hauge said. But it’s an added bonus to say that he’s from our area. It makes our pick even more special. We were lucky enough to be in the number two spot to take him right away.”
Wilkie played with the United States National Team Development Program last season, appearing in 56 games and scoring 31 points with 13 goals and 18 assists. He also played six games for Team USA in the U17 World Challenge and amassed nine points on three goals and six assists.
At 16-years-old, Wilkie stands at 5-feet 10-inches and weighs 172 pounds.
“He’s going to be an extremely skilled hockey player,” Hauge said. “He’s got a dynamic skill set and what’s even more impressive is how hard and physical he plays. He’s going to be a leader for us and I’m really excited about him coming into our locker room.”
Before the NTDP, Wilkie played for the Omaha Lancers Midget Minor team. He was coached by his father David, a former NHL player with the Montreal Canadians, Tampa Bay Lightning and New York Rangers from 1994-2001.
“I think you can tell he’s been coached very well by his father growing up and he’s got a hockey pedigree,” Hauge said. “But I think that Chris has written his own chapter and he’s a guy that’s going to make his own mark on the game because he’s so talented. Chris has done all the work.”
The second overall pick is also committed to play collegiately at North Dakota.
“We think he’ll be ready to play college hockey after one season and hopefully, if we do our job, he’ll be a high-end NHL Draft pick,” Hauge said. “He’s ready to come in and be a marquee player for a franchise in our league and I think that’s what he’s going to do here.”