July 04, 2014 - 10:49 AM
KAMLOOPS - The Kamloops Blazers' coaching staff hope two picks in the import draft this week will help to bolster the d-line going forward.
Both picks were used to grab eligible European defenseman in the draft. Patrik Maier of Slovakia went sixth overall to the Blazers during the 2014 Canadian Hockey League Import Draft while the Blazers used their final pick (66 overall) to grab Michael Fora of Switzerland.
Known for his physical play, Maier collected nine points and 172 penalty minutes in 38 games with the Under-18 Team Slovakia this past season. The defenseman, who will turn 18 in November, is expected to join the Blazers in time for training camp in mid-August.
Fora played for Ambri-Piotta Under-20 team this past season where he earned nine points in 38 games as the team captain. Fora will turn 19 at the end of October and is also expected to be in Kamloops in time for training camp.
Fora’s agent, Hnat Domenichelli, played for the Blazers from 1992-1996.
The Blazers had only one import left on the roster at the end of the season, defensman Edson Harlacher, but he decided to pursue professional opportunities in Switzerland.
Previous players selected during the import drafts include Tim Bozon, Dalibor Bortnak and Juuso Puustinen.
Kamloops finished the 2013-2014 season with only 14 wins, 52 losses, two overtime losses and three shootout losses, which was the second worst record behind Lethbridge, which had only 12 wins. In 2012-2013 the team finished near the top of the pack with 47 wins and made it to the conference finals where they lost to Portland, the eventual championship winners.
The Blazers will begin pre-season play Aug. 29 when they host Vancouver while regular season action will kick off with a home game Sept. 19 against Victoria.
To contact a reporter for this story, email Jennifer Stahn at email@example.com or call 250-819-3723. To contact an editor, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 250-718-2724.
News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2014