Wednesday June 30th was the 2021 CHL Import Draft and for the first time in franchise history the Hamilton Bulldogs passed on selecting a player. The Bulldogs have had a fruitful history with Import Draft selections and look to continue that success as the team prepares for the 2021-22 season with imports Jan Mysak & Artyom Grushnikov signed.
Bulldogs Strong Import History
The Bulldogs have received significant impact from import players in each season going back to 2016-17 when Marian Studenic arrived from Slovakia. Studenic would go onto record 78 points in 120 regular season games over his two seasons in Hamilton while adding another 19 points in 28 playoff games and playing a big part in the Bulldogs’ 2018 OHL Championship.
With Studenic off to the AHL for the 2018-19 season the Bulldogs would start the season with Tim Fleischer who would bring a well-rounded mature style to the team and then add Jan Jenik on January 7th, 2019, though not a direct import pick by the Bulldogs he would make his OHL debut with the team.
Jenik would record 30 points in just 27 games on arrival and picked right up where he left off in the 2019-20 season. With an astonishing 56 points in just 27 games to open the season, Jenik was the front runner to win both the scoring title as well as league MVP before a freak injury would end his season at the 2020 IIHF World Junior Hockey Championship.
Enter Jan Mysak
Originally drafted 20th overall in the 2019 CHL Import Draft, Mysak was already a hero in his hometown of Litvinov, Czech Republic when he played a massive part in saving his hometown team HC Litvinov from relegation at the end of the 2018-19 season. Arriving in Hamilton following the 2020 IIHF World Junior Hockey Championship, Mysak would follow in the footsteps of his hockey hero and then coach of HC Litvinov Jiri Slegr, who made his North American debut with the AHL Hamilton Canucks.
Mysak would make an immediate impact for the Bulldogs recording 15 goals & 10 assists for 25 points in 22 games as a 17-year-old while quickly becoming a fan favourite for his character, personality and electric skill. His performances both in Hamilton and internationally led to Mysak being selected by the Montreal Canadiens in the 2nd round of the 2020 NHL Entry Draft.
When asked about what Mysak brings to the Hamilton Bulldogs, team President & General Manager Steve Staios had glowing praise:
“Jan made a seamless transition coming into our group and stood out right away for his character and leadership. On the ice his performance speaks for itself, Jan is the complete 200-foot player and continues to up his game coming off a successful run in Laval. We expect Jan to once again be a leader and big part of our group this season.”
Striking Gold, Grushnikov Arrives
With the 16th overall selection in the 2020 CHL Import Draft, the Hamilton Bulldogs would add Artyom Grushnikov to round out the team’s import pair. Out of the legendary CSKA Moscow/Red Army program, Grushnikov has impressed at every level including winning gold medals as an underage player for Russia at the 2018 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge, 2019 Hlinka-Gretzky Cup and 2019 World Junior A Challenge. Expected to be a high selection in the 2021 NHL Entry Draft, Grushnikov is someone the Bulldogs’ organization is very excited to see in black & gold.
Hamilton Bulldogs President & General Manager Steve Staios is looking forward to seeing the talented Russian rearguard arrive in the OHL:
“Artyom is simply a winner with high end NHL upside having competed at the international level with Russia and utilized in all situations. A rare blend of size, skating, and hockey IQ, Artyom has the ability to shutdown opponents while bringing tremendous offensive upside. We are very excited to see Artyom come into our group and expect he will be a big part of our blueline.”