Kupari, Bjornfot to be Assigned to World Juniors Teams
ONTARIO, CA - The Los Angeles Kings, NHL affiliate of the Ontario Reign, announced today that they have agreed to loan defenseman Tobias Bjornfot to the Swedish national junior team and forward Rasmus Kupari to the Finnish national junior team for the 2020 International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) World Junior Championship. Both players will be reassigned from Ontario to their national clubs on December 16.
Bjornfot, 18, is currently in his first season of professional hockey in North America after being selected by the Kings in the first-round, 22nd overall, at the 2019 NHL Draft. The 6-0, 200-pound defenseman made his NHL debut earlier this season, appearing in three games with the Kings before he was assigned to Ontario (AHL). Through 20 games with the Reign, Bjornfot has posted eight points (2-6=8), a plus-5 rating and eight penalty minutes.
The Upplands Valley, Sweden native will be representing his nation in IIHF play for the third straight year. A year ago, he captained Sweden's under-18 men's national team on home ice to the nation's first-ever gold medal at the IIHF Under-18 Men's World Championship. In 2018, he was also part of the Sweden contingent that won a bronze medal at the same event.
Kupari, a 19-year-old native of Kotka, Finland, was selected in the first-round (20th overall) of the 2018 NHL Draft and is playing in his first professional season in North America with Ontario. He has posted seven points (5-2=7) and nine penalty minutes in 24 games this season with the Reign.
Internationally, the 6-1, 185-pound forward has represented Finland on multiple occasions, including twice at the IIHF World Junior Championship (2018, 2019 - gold) and twice at the IIHF Under-18 Men's World Championship (2017 - silver, 2018 - gold). Last year, he tallied five points (1-4=5) in seven games to help Finland capture the gold medal at the 2019 IIHF World Junior Championship in Vancouver. During his two stints with Finland's under-18 men's national team, he won both a gold medal (2018) and silver medal (2017) while collecting six points (2-4=6) in 11 appearances.
NINE POTENTIAL KINGS PROSPECTS
With Bjornfot and Kupari joining their respective federations, the Kings will have nine players on preliminary rosters ahead of this year's tournament, including three with ties to the Reign (Bjornfot, Kupari and forward Aidan Dudas). Should all nine players make their respective teams, only the Philadelphia Flyers have had as many prospects compete in this tournament over the last five years, when they did so in 2017.
USA (2) - Alex Turcotte, F (2019, 1st round, 5th overall), Arthur Kaliyev, F (2019, 2nd round, 33rd overall)
CAN (2) - Aidan Dudas, F (2018, 4th round, 113th overall), Akil Thomas, F (2018, 2nd round, 51st overall)
CZE (1) - Lukas Parik, G (2019, 3rd round, 87th overall)
FIN (2) - Rasmus Kupari, F (2018, 1st round, 20th overall), Kim Nousiainen, D (2019, 4th round, 119th overall)
SWE (2) - Tobias Bjornfot, D (2019, 1st round, 22nd overall), Samuel Fagemo, F (2019, 2nd round, 50th overall)
The Ontario Reign are underway in the 2019-20 season, their fifth as members of the American Hockey League. For more information on the upcoming season, as well as the 2020 AHL All-Star Classic, to be held in Ontario, visit ontarioreign.com, and to secure your seats with a Reign ticket plan, call 909.941.7825.
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