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Silvertips Select RW Niko Huuhtanen of Finland, Second Overall in the 2021 CHL Import Draft

June 30, 2021 - Western Hockey League (WHL) - Everett Silvertips News Release


EVERETT, Wash. - The Everett Silvertips (@WHLSilvertips), two-time Western Conference champions and eight time U.S. Division champions of the Western Hockey League, selected right winger Niko Huuhtanen of Finland in the first round with the second overall pick of the 2021 Canadian Hockey League Import Draft today.

Huuhtanen (HOO-tah-nen), a 2003-born forward who competed for Team Finland at the IIHF U18 World Championships in April, marks the sole Silvertips selection in this year's draft with Michal Gut (Czech Republic) on the Silvertips protected list for the 2021-22 WHL season.

"To get a player like Niko is an extremely valuable opportunity because of his natural ability to score goals," said Silvertips head coach and interim general manager Dennis Williams. "It's difficult to do what he does on a consistent basis. He's had great success at every level as a big, strong, and physical goal scorer who embraces a North American style of game, along with a terrific level of hockey intelligence he uses to protect pucks and find open teammates. He's got a long-term goal with becoming an NHL player and his recognition of the habits he's aiming to refine is a credit to his character. He plays the way we want to play in Everett, with size and strength, and his qualities are a great fit for our offense and power play. We're excited to have him, and he's excited to become a Silvertip."

Williams continued, "We did an extensive amount of work in this draft and owe a tremendous amount of gratitude to European Scout, Alessandro Benin, for helping guide our organization through this process to learn more and connect with Niko."

Huuhtanen last season competed for the Tappara U20 club and tied the team lead with 20 goals in 37 games, was the leader with 73 penalty minutes, ranked fourth with 34 points, and posted a +12 rating for a program helping develop alumni such as Patrik Laine, Aleksander Barkov, and Henri Jokiharju, all currently competing in the NHL. Huuhtanen added one goal in a pair of playoff games while helping Tappara advance to semifinal play with a regular season record of 17-8-3-2.

On the international stage, the 6-foot-1, 203-pound forward suited up for Team Finland at the U18 World Championships and helped the program advance to the Bronze Medal game, collecting five points (2g-3a) in seven games.

Ranked by si.com and The Hockey News at 87th overall for the upcoming 2021 NHL Draft, the native of Helsinki, Finland is ranked 49th overall by NHL Central Scouting (European Skaters) for the draft next month, scheduled in a virtual format for July 23-24.

Huuhtanen competed for Kiekko-Espoo's U18 program with a goal and assist in one game in addition to 48 games with the U20 club where he was fourth in goals (18) and racked up 34 points (18g-16a) and 54 penalty minutes in 48 games. He also suited up for Team Finland in the Under-17 World Hockey Challenge and notched four points (1g-43a) in five games and totaled 9 points (1g-8a) in 15 games of overall international competition for Finland's U17 squad.

SILVERTIPS PATH TO THE PROS

A total of 20 players have suited up in an Everett Silvertips jersey and advanced to play in the National Hockey League, since the Silvertips joined the WHL in 2003-04. The Silvertips have elevated 27 players to be selected by teams in the NHL Entry Draft, including eight over the previous three seasons, while 11 Silvertips have signed three-year, NHL entry level or AHL contracts since 2018. The Seattle Kraken, an expansion franchise scheduled to play 30 miles away from Everett at Climate Pledge Arena, will make their NHL debut in the 2021-22 season.

UPCOMING 2021-22 SEASON: OPENS OCT. 2

The Tips will open their 19th season of play in the WHL and defense of their eighth U.S. Division title on Saturday, Oct. 2 at 7:05 p.m. in a road matchup against the Kelowna Rockets, and open their home schedule before fans in downtown Everett on Oct. 8 at Angel of the Winds Arena, hosting Portland at 7:05 p.m. Tickets are available now by placing a $50 deposit for Silvertips Season Ticket or Mini-Plan Packages (available in full season, 22-game, of 14-game plans) at www.everettsilvertips.com/deposit or by calling (425) 252-5100 (extension 1). Further details on the Silvertips game-by-game promotional and giveaway schedule will be announced soon.

The Silvertips pre-season schedule opens with the annual Silvertips Preseason Classic on Sept. 10, in a battle against the Spokane Chiefs at 6:00 p.m.

Select-A-Seat returns for new season ticket accounts on July 6

To celebrate the home launch of Silvertips hockey for the 2021-22 season, "Select-A-Seat" returns on Tuesday, July 6, hosted in a virtual format. Phone call appointments are underway for renewed accounts interested in new seating arrangements, and new season ticket and mini plan accounts will begin arrangements from July 6-9. Fans will have one-on-one attention with a Silvertips ticket sales representative, and first right of refusal for account options for the 2021-22 season. More information on securing a Silvertips ticket package is available at www.everettsilvertips.com/tickets or by calling (425) 252-5100. Angel of the Winds Arena in downtown Everett, who hosted 5,730 fans per Silvertips home game in 2019-20 (third in WHL attendance), will serve as home ice to all 34 Silvertips home games.


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