The Tri-City Americans will look overseas on Tuesday as they take part in the Canadian Hockey League’s 2020 Import Draft. The annual draft gives teams from all three CHL leagues (the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, Western Hockey League, and Ontario Hockey League) an opportunity to select the rights to players outside of North America.
The two-round draft will take place online with the order of selection rotating through each of the CHL’s three leagues using an inverse order of final regular season standings within each league from the 2019-20 season. The OHL’s North Bay Battalion hold the number one pick, followed by the QMJHL’s Acadie-Bathurst Titan at number two, and the WHL’s Swift Current Broncos who will select third overall.
Each CHL team is allowed a maximum of two import players selected through the CHL Import Draft.
At the conclusion of the 2019-20 season, Americans captain Krystof Hrabik was Tri-City’s only import player on the roster. The native of Praha, Czech Republic and was selected 41st overall by Tri-City in the 2018 CHL Import Draft. During his two seasons with Tri-City he contributed 82 points (35 goals and 47 assists) in 105 games played. Last fall Hrabik signed a contact with the AHL’s San Jose Barracuda. After aging out from the WHL this season, Hrabik is expected to play next year with the Barracuda.
With no returning import players, the Americans will select two in tomorrow’s draft at 14th and 69th overall.
The inaugural CHL Import Draft took place in 2001. Through the past 28 years the Americans have made 25 selections. The 25 import players include nine from the Czech Republic, seven from Russia, three from Slovakia, two from Belarus, two from and Sweden, and one from each Norway and Finland.
The Americans have a recent trend with their past three import selections being from the Czech Republic: Jan Cikhart (31st overall, 2019), David Homola (91st overall, 2019), Krystof Hrabik (41st overall, 2018).
Over the years Tri-City has used their import draft picks to select 14 forwards, 10 defensemen, and one goaltender.
Fans can follow the draft live on the WHL website. It will take place tomorrow Tuesday, June 30th at 8:00 AM PDT.