Toronto, ON – The Canadian Hockey League today announced details for the 29th annual CHL Import Draft which will take place next Tuesday June 30, 2020, beginning at 11:00 am Eastern.
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 Hamilton Bulldogs hold the 16th overall selection in the first round of the draft, and the 76th overall selection in the second round of this year’s draft, four spots higher from the 20th overall selection which was used to select the very impressive Jan Mysak in the 2019 CHL Import Draft.
Since the franchise’s relocation to Hamilton prior to the 2015-16 season, the Bulldogs organization has seen considerable success in the CHL Import Draft in identifying talent.
In 2015, the Bulldogs selected two defensemen in the Import Draft, Ondrej Kachyna from the Czech Republic with the 21st overall selection and Christian Mieritz of Denmark with the 81st overall selection. The pair would play a combined 83 games with the Bulldogs, Mieritz would play an additional 26 with the Guelph Storm, and both have since returned home to play in the professional ranks of their respective nations.
The Bulldogs would make their most successful Import Draft selection to date in 2016, taking Marian Studenic of Slovakia with the 11th overall selection. Studenic would go on to appear in 120 regular season games with the Bulldogs scoring 38 goals & 40 assists for 78 points while adding another 5 goals & 14 assists across 28 playoff games in addition to being a key member of the Hamilton Bulldogs 2018 OHL Championship team. Studenic spent the last two seasons, 2018-2020 with the Binghamton Devils of the AHL and is a 5th round pick of the New Jersey Devils in 2017.
The Bulldogs would select Joni Ikonen of Finland 28th overall in the 2017 CHL Import Draft. Drafted out of the legendary Frolunda program in Sweden, Ikonen has spent the last three seasons (2017-2020) with KaIPa of the SM-Liiga in Finalnd. Ikonen has since signed with Ilves in the SM-Liiga for the 2020-21 season and was also selected in the 2nd round of the 2017 NHL Draft by the Montreal Canadiens.
In 2018, the Bulldogs selected Philip Broberg of Sweden with the 54th overall selection as well as Tim Fleischer of Germany with the 114th overall selection. Broberg has not yet appeared in the OHL but had a very successful season with AIK in the Allsvenskan (Swedish second professional division) in 2018-19 where he appeared in 41 games on route to being selected 8th overall in the 2019 NHL Entry Draft by the Edmonton Oilers. Broberg would move to the SHL in 2019-20, suiting up with one of the top programs in the country, Skelleftea, as well as skating for his native Sweden in the 2020 World Junior Hockey Championships for the second straight season. Fleischer meanwhile would go on to play in all 68 regular season games in the 2018-19 season for the Bulldogs recording 8 goals & 13 assists for 21 points while appearing in all 4 playoff games for the team and adding a single assist. Fleischer signed with the Iserlohn Roosters of the DEL for the 2019-20 season and represented his native Germany at the 2020 World Junior Hockey Championships.
On January 7th, 2019, the Hamilton Bulldogs acquired centerman Jan Jenik of the Czech Republic from the Flint Firebirds for a pair of draft picks. Originally selected 6th overall in the 2018 CHL Import Draft and coming off a good showing at the 2019 World Junior Hockey Championships, Jenik would immediately commit to the Bulldogs and become the most prolific import scorer to have suited up for the Hamilton Bulldogs, recording 86 points (35 goals & 51 assists) over just 54 games before an injury at the 2020 World Junior Hockey Championships would prematurely end his 2019-2020 season. Selected in the 3rd round, 65th overall, in the 2018 NHL Entry Draft, Jenik looks poised to advance and dominate at the professional level.
The 2019 CHL Import Draft would see the Hamilton Bulldogs select another center from the Czech Republic who may wind up challenging Marian Studenic for the title of most successful Import Draft pick in Bulldogs history as Jan Mysak was selected 20th overall from the HC Litvinov program in the Czech Extraliga. The subject of endless praise from Litvinov General Manager, former NHLer and Triple Gold Club member Jiri Slegr, Mysak would rescue Litvinov from relegation in the 2018-19 season recording 9 points in 6 games and outscoring several former OHL stars and NHLers. After starting the season with HC Litvinov as well as impressing for his native Czech Republic at the 2019 Hlinka-Gretzky Cup & 2020 World Junior Hockey Championships, Mysak would arrive with the Bulldogs in January 2020. Scoring 25 points (including two hat-tricks within a week) on 15 goals and 10 assists in just 22 games, Mysak electrified crowds in Hamilton and looks very likely to be a high selection once the 2020 NHL Entry Draft occurs.
On Tuesday, January 30th the Hamilton Bulldogs will look to add another impressive piece to a strong core as the franchise looks to take another run at the OHL Championship.