Edmonton, AB – Edmonton Oil Kings General Manager Bob Green announced today the team has signed 2010 Bantam Draft selection and Edmonton native Cole Benson to a standard Western Hockey League player contract.
Benson was selected by the Oil Kings 178th overall at the 2010 WHL Bantam Draft. The forward from Edmonton spent the 2010-11 season with the South Side Athletic Club’s Midget AAA squad, helping the Boston Pizza Athletics to the North Division regular season championship.
The 16-year-old, listed at 5-foot-7 and 148 pounds, scored 12 goals and 20 assists for 32 points in 29 regular season games as a rookie with SSAC, and was selected as the top defensive forward in the Alberta Midget Hockey League. He scored 61 points in 33 regular season games the previous season in Bantam AAA with SSAC.
Benson also scored seven points in six games with Team Alberta at the 2011 Canada Winter Games, playing alongside fellow Oil Kings prospects Mason Geertsen and Nelson Gadoury.
“Cole was the top defensive forward in all of Midget AAA hockey in Alberta last year, so we know we’re getting a solid two-way player,” Green said. “He was impressive at the Canada Winter Games and he also brings excellent leadership qualities. We’re very pleased to sign him.”
Benson and the rest of the Oil Kings rookies will participate in Rookie Camp starting Thursday, August 25 with fitness testing at Body By Bennett and on-ice sessions at the Jubilee Rec Centre in Fort Saskatchewan. Main Camp will begin Saturday, August 27 with fitness testing and Monday, August 29 on-ice at the same locations.
The Oil Kings start the 2011-12 WHL regular season on the road against the Red Deer Rebels at 3 p.m. on Sunday, September 25 and the Prince Albert Raiders at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, September 28. Their home opener at Rexall Place will be Friday, September 30 at 7 p.m. against the Medicine Hat Tigers.