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Firebirds Prepare for 2020 CHL Import Draft Tuesday

June 29, 2020 - Ontario Hockey League (OHL) - Flint Firebirds News Release

Flint, Mich. - The Flint Firebirds Hockey Club will participate in the 29th annual CHL Import Draft this Tuesday, Jun. 30 at 11 a.m. (ET).

Flint is expected to select one player with the 46th-overall pick. Through the CHL Import Draft, each team in the CHL is permitted to dress and play a maximum of two import players each season. The Firebirds have the rights to two players: Vladislav Kolyachonok and Evegeniy Oksentyuk. However, because Kolyachonok is a draft pick of the Florida Panthers and signed an NHL contract out of the Firebirds' program, Flint is in a position to be able to select an additional Import player.

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 Ontario Hockey League's North Bay Battalion hold the number one pick, followed by the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League's Acadie-Bathurst Titan at number two, and the Western Hockey League's Swift Current Broncos who will select third overall.

Firebirds CHL Import Draft Central

CHL Import Draft Live Results

Last season, the Firebirds selected Belarusian forward Evgeniy Oksentyuk with the 5th-overall pick in the 2019 CHL Import Draft. Oksentyuk led the Firebirds with 78 points (33G, 45A) in 58 games and was recognized by the Canadian Hockey League (CHL) as one of the top-5 impact players from last year's CHL Import Draft. The Brest, Belarus native set a Firebirds' franchise record for the longest point-streak by a single player, recording a point in 17 consecutive games from Nov. 15, 2019 - Jan. 17, 2020. After choosing to move to Flint and play with the Firebirds, Oksentyuk is now expected to hear his name called at the upcoming 2020 NHL Draft.

The Ontario Hockey League (OHL), known as the premiere player development league for the NHL, is one of three major junior ice hockey leagues based in Canada and the United States that constitute the 60-team Canadian Hockey League (CHL).

The import draft is seen as a way to raise the level of competition in the CHL, as well as to broaden its fan base while retaining high North American content.

Last season a total of 81 players were selected from 14 different countries led by 17 players from the Czech Republic and consisting of 48 forwards, 27 defensemen, and six goaltenders.  The Broncos used the first overall pick to select Finnish defenseman Kasper Puutio who now competes for the Everett Silvertips and is a prospect for the 2020 NHL Draft.  Rounding out the top three picks were Slovakian forward Martin Chromiak chosen by the Kingston Frontenacs followed by Swiss defenseman Noah Delemont of the Titan.

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