A Fort Saskatchewan hockey player was among the first players selected at the 2023 WHL Draft on Thursday (May 11) morning. 

Defender Keaton Verhoeff, a former U15 AAA Ranger, was selected fourth overall by the Victoria Royals, making him the second-highest pick in Royal's history. 

"The level of excitement is very high here," said J.F Best, the assistant GM and associate coach of the Royals. "We are thrilled to add Keaton." 

"First and foremost, he is an outstanding person, he's got a high character and a great work rate on the ice, off the ice." 

Verhoeff spent the last season playing in B.C. with the Rink Hockey Academy Kelowna U15 Prep team of the Canadian Sport School Hockey U15 League.

Verhoeff torched the competition from the backend, putting up 46 points in 27 games. This led the league in points per game by a defenseman.

At just 14, Verhoeff already has the frame of an NHL player standing 6'3'' and 190 lbs. 

"He is the type of player that can change the landscape very quickly," said Best. "He's very powerful, very creative with the puck, off the puck he is very imposing down low and around the nets." 

"He leads by example; he plays a hard game in all areas of the ice, so we are very excited to see him develop in Victoria over the years to come." 

His style of play has been compared to current Chicago Blackhawks NHL defenseman Seth Jones. 

To see the full results of the WHL Draft, click here