The two Manitoba-based Western Hockey League clubs have come to terms with their respective selections from last month’s Canadian Hockey League Import Draft, held on June 30.
Brandon, which made just one pick in the annual event, made the announcement of the team’s signing last week, before Winnipeg officially declared the team’s two selections under contract on Thursday.
Choosing 29th overall, the Wheat Kings selected 17-year-old forward Zakhar Polshakov of Belarus with their only pick. The 5-foot-10, 175-pound centreman comes from a hockey background, with deep family ties to hockey greatness in both Belarus and Lithuania.
Polshakov put up nine goals and 26 points in 38 league games last season, before skating as the captain of Belarus’ U-18 squad.
“Zakhar is excited to come to Canada and become a Wheat King,” GM Doug Gasper said in a team-issued media release. “As I said on draft day, he plays a solid game in all three zones, and I know he will fit into our current group. After watching him at the U18’s, including an impressive outing against Canada, I’m excited to see how he will progress at this level.”
In Winnipeg, the ICE selected at picks No. 59 and 65 in the random ‘snaking’ draft back in June. Both players chosen have signed standard WHL player agreements and will battle for roster spots this fall.
Martin Bohm, to whom the club chose 59th overall, skated for Bili Tygri Liberec U-20 of the Czech U-20 league, where he put up two goals and 10 points in just eight games last year. Additionally, the 5-foot-10, 175-pound defenceman suited up for HC Benatky nad Jizerou in the Czech2 league, to which he added two markers in 17 contests. Bohm, 18, has previously represented Czech Republic in both U-16 and U-18 play.
Maximilian Streule, 17, is of Swiss descent, and was Winnipeg’s second choice, 65th overall. He played for the GCK Lions U-20 team of the U-20-Elit league. The 5-foot-11, 175-pound defender put up five goals and 13 points in 28 games. Like Bohm, he has represented his country on numerous occasions, including the U-16, U-17 and U-18 levels.
The ICE and Wheat Kings will begin the 2021-22 WHL season with a home-and-home to open the month of October. Brandon will host Winnipeg on Friday, October 1 from Westoba Place, before the two teams travel east to Manitoba’s capital for Game 2 of the season from Wayne Fleming Arena the following day.
The Wheat Kings (1) and ICE (2) finished as the two top teams in the East Division from the Regina Hub last year. Brandon earned the Subway Cup as division champs through the 24-game shortened 2020-21 regular season.