Friday, July 1, 2011

15 Czechs taken in CHL Import Draft

The Canadian Hockey League, which is the top tier of junior hockey in North America, held its annual Import Draft on Wednesday. Fifteen Czech players, more than from any other country, were selected.

The draft allows European junior-aged players to join teams in the CHL, which is divided into the Western Hockey League, the Ontario Hockey League, and the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. The 60 total CHL teams, nine of which are based in the United States, are limited to two import players (non-North American) each.

Petr Šidlík (right) at the 2011 UI8 World Championships. Photo:
The first Czech player chosen was defenceman Petr Šidlík of Dukla Jihlava of the Czech First League. He also played for the Czech U18 team at the Five Nations Tournament in Hradec Kralove and the World Championships in Dresden last year. He was taken fifth overall by the Baie-Comeau Drakkar, who then traded his rights to the Victoriaville Tigre. 

Then a trio, Tomáš Hyka, Dominik Volek, and Patrik Machač were taken eighth, ninth, and tenth. Hyka, from Mladá Boleslav, was expected to be taken in the recent NHL Draft, but was passed on. Lukáš Sedlák, who was chosen 14th, is the only Czech player who has already been drafted by an NHL team. Sedlák was taken in the sixth round this year by the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Most of the players selected played on either the Czech U18 or U17 national teams last season. Inevitably, some of the players drafted will choose to leave the Czech Republic and play for the CHL team that picked them. If they leave, it weakens the talent pool that the Czech national teams have to choose from.

"We would obviously like to see the players stay, but it is not easy to convince them. Likewise, their parents or agents," Czech U18 national team coach Jiří Veber told's
Václav Jáchim. "Our desire is the opposite, but some departures are inevitable. We're stuck with it," he says.

Convincing its top young players to remain at home is an ever-increasing challenge in the Czech Republic.


Here are the 15 Czech players chosen:

 5. Petr Šidlík        D    Victoriaville Jihlava
 8. Tomáš Hyka         RW   Gatineau      Ml. Boleslav
 9. Dominik Volek      LW   Regina        Sparta Praha
10. Patrik Machač      C    Brampton      Kladno
14. Lukáš Sedlák       C    Chicoutimi    Č. Budějovice
22. Radek Faksa        C    Kitchener     Třinec
26. Tomáš Pavelka      D    PEI           Vítkovice
29. Roman Will         G    Moncton       Ml. Boleslav
35. Matěj Beran        C    PEI           Lulea (SWE)
36. Lukáš Králík       F    Victoria      Olomouc
48. Michal Plutnar     D    Tri-City      Liberec
52. Jaroslav Pavelka   G    Niagara       Hradec Králové
54. Adam Řehák         C    Medicine Hat  Vítkovice
57. Jiří Sekáč         L/C  Sudbury       Youngstown (USHL)
59. Patrik Bartošák    G    Red Deer      Vítkovice

Draft Picks by Country:

Czech Republic – 15
Russia – 11
Sweden – 9
Slovakia – 7
Germany – 5
Switzerland – 5
Norway – 4
Latvia – 3
Finland – 2
Belarus – 1

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