Kelowna set to make single selection at 2021 CHL Import Draft

The Kelowna Rockets are set to make a single selection in tomorrow’s 30th annual Canadian Hockey League Import Draft. The draft will take place tomorrow, Wednesday, June 30, 2021, beginning at 8:00 am PT, the draft can be followed online on the CHL’s website.

Kelowna will pick 44th overall and will only select one player, as 2019 import pick, forward Pavel Novak will return for the 2021-22 WHL season.

The two-round draft will take place online with the order of selection rotating through each of the CHL’s three leagues.

Novak bust onto the scene with the Rockets after Kelowna selected him 13th overall in the 2019 CHL Import Draft. The Czech forward excelled in his first season in the Okanagan during 2019-20, scoring above a point-per-game pace with 25 goals and 33 assists through 55 contests to lead his squad in scoring and finish just four shy of the league-wide rookie scoring race.

The Minnesota Wild selected Novak in the fifth round in the 2020 NHL Draft.

The Rockets have drafted 36 import players since 1992. Here is a breakdown of those picks:

Draft Picks by Country:
Czech Republic: 13
Slovakia: 6
Finland: 5
Sweden: 4
Latvia: 2
Switzerland: 2
Russia: 2
Austria: 1
Slovenia: 1
Norway: 1
Draft Picks by Position:
Forwards: 30
Defencemen: 7
Goaltenders: 0
European skaters drafted into the NHL after playing for the Rockets:
Lassi Thomson – 2019 round 1 #19 overall by Ottawa Senators
Calvin Thurkauf – 2016 round 7 #185 overall by Columbus Blue Jackets
Karel Betik – 1997 round 5 #112 overall by Tampa Bay Lightning
Notable European skaters drafted into the NHL before playing for the Rockets:
Mikael Backlund – 2007 round 1 #24 overall by Calgary Flames
Alex Edler – 2004 round 3 #91 overall by Vancouver Canucks
Vaclav Varada – 1994 round 4 #89 overall by San Jose Sharks
Michal Grosek – 1993 round 6 #145 overall by Winnipeg Jets
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