Rangers snap up budding local sniper

RYAN PYETTE -- London Free Press

, Last Updated: 11:14 AM ET

Londoner Nazem Kadri has a supportive extended family that always packs the rink to watch the young hockey star play for the Junior Knights.

Watch out, Kitchener Memorial Auditorium. The Kadri clan is coming.

Kadri, who posted 49 goals and 92 points in 62 games and helped lead the Junior Knights to fourth place at the recent OHL Cup minor midget championship, was snapped up by the Kitchener Rangers -- London's big rival -- with the 18th overall pick in yesterday's OHL draft. The slick five-foot-10, 145-pound scorer was the first of many local products picked in the annual selection.

"We'll probably have to get a couple of buses for all of my family," the 15-year-old Lucas student said yesterday. "It's going to be nerve-racking to come back and play at the JLC but I'm looking forward to it. I'm happy to go to Kitchener.

"They have a great organization, a great building and a great coaching staff."

Kadri's linemate, Jamie Commerford, is also heading to Kitchener as the Rangers' third-round pick (58th overall).

"It's nice to have someone you know in the same organization," Kadri said. "Commerford is a great guy and a good player and it's better to have a teammate picked by the same team."

There have been rumblings that Kitchener head coach Peter DeBoer will be heading to the pro ranks this year, but the team's first-rounder doesn't agree with the rumour mill.

"I think he'll be there next year," Kadri said. "He's a great coach and I'm looking forward to playing in Kitchener."

Sarnia selected Markham Waxers forward Steve Stamkos with the first overall pick and the Oshawa Generals took his teammate, defenceman Michael Del Zotto, with the second pick. It was the first time the Sting chose first since the 1994 season when they took Jeff Brown, who later played in London for the Knights.

"I look at Steve as one of those impact players in the league who can turn into a (Wojtek) Wolski, a (Rob) Schremp or a (Corey) Perry," Sarnia GM Alan Millar said. "It wasn't an easy decision -- we met with both the Stamkos and the Del Zotto families -- but Steve is a high-end scorer and he's going to fit well into our team."

Sarnia picked a big defenceman in the second round -- Windsor Junior Spitfires Dalton Prout, a six-foot-two, 190-pound Lasalle native who had 29 points in 58 games.


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