John MacNeil / Independent editor
BIG VALLEY — Grade 9 science class at Big Valley School was interrupted last May 5 while Ty Mappin and his fellow students tracked the Western Hockey League bantam draft online.
Not long into the morning proceedings, however, the Everett Silvertips called Mappin’s name with the seventh overall selection.
“I was in class and we pulled the website up for the WHL, so we got to see when my name was called,” said Mappin, a 15-year old centre. “Well, even the teacher let us put it up on the Smart Board and watch, so that was nice.”
Mappin is poised to be a nice fit for the Silvertips when he becomes eligible to play in the WHL fulltime in the 2012-13 season.
He scored 37 goals and 71 points in 33 games last season with his Red Deer Rebels White bantam AAA team. His all-star performance in the Alberta Major Bantam Hockey League put him in good stead going into the draft.
“There were rumours going around that I’d be in the top 10,” said the five foot-11, 155-pound Mappin.
“Going seventh was a surprise, I guess. It was nice, though.
“I guess (the Silvertips) like how offensive I am. I can score a lot and do stuff like that. And I guess I have some defensive upside for a centreman. So they liked that, too, is what they told me.”
Everett has produced the likes of NHL first-round draft picks Peter Mueller and Zach Hamill, a Boston Bruins’ prospect whom the Silvertips have likened to Mappin.
“I was the second-highest (Everett) draft pick behind him, so I have to step up to that,” Mappin said of Hamill, whom the Silvertips selected third overall in 2003.
During a Saskatoon camp this May, Mappin received an Everett briefing from current Silvertips captain Ryan Murray, the White City, Sask., defenceman poised to be selected in the first round of the 2012 NHL entry draft.
Mappin has also learned about major junior life from his 20-year-old brother, Cass, a former WHL forward who is bound for CIS hockey with the University of Lethbridge Pronghorns.
“When he used to play in Red Deer, I would always go watch him,” the younger Mappin said. “He did the same stuff (that I’m doing now). He was drafted into the WHL, so I wanted to be like him and that’s what made me work hard to try and become like him.”
Cass was a first-round pick of the Rebels in 2005.
The brothers are working out together this summer in Stettler as they prepare for the coming season.
Ty — short for Tyrell —followed his father’s lead when he chose the Toronto Maple Leafs as his favourite NHL team. Former Colorado Avalanche star Joe Sakic was Ty’s favourite NHL player.
Mappin can trace his hockey roots to the dirt road that leads to his family’s 120-head cattle ranch south of Big Valley.
“It is nice and peaceful,” he said of country life. “I like it. I’d take the farm over a city any day.”
Mappin, however, is moving to Red Deer for Grade 10 so that he can ease his likely jump to the midget AAA Optimist Rebels this season. He plans to live with his oldest brother, Kyle, but still return home on occasion.