Calvin Thurkauf and Tomas Soustal provided the Kelowna Rockets with one their more effective European duos in the 26-year history of the franchise.
With their departure expected for this coming season, the Western Hockey League club is looking to a pair of Czech-born players to help fill the void.
With the 51st overall selection in this week’s CHL Import Draft, the Rockets went with 17-year-old defenceman Libor Zabransky.
Born in Brno, Czech Republic, the 6-foot-1, 181-pound blueliner played last season with HC Kometa Brno’s U20 team.
Zabransky played in 34 games, recording nine goals 35 points and added a +21 plus/minus rating. He also posted three goals and seven assists for 10 points in 12 post season games.
“Im honoured to be drafted by the Kelowna Rockets, it’s one of the best organizations in the CHL, and I’ll do everything I can to be beneficial for the team,” said Zabransky.
With their second choice, the Rockets took fellow Czech and Zabransky’s HC Kometa Brno U20 teammate, Marek Skvrne.
The 18-year-old forward, who is listed at 6-foot, 172 pounds, had eight goals and 21 points in 37 games, along with 36 penalty minutes.
Both Zabransky and Skvrne are expected at Kelowna Rockets’ training camp in August.