It’s been a productive year for Jiri Patera.
The Wheat Kings’ 20 year-old graduating goaltender has signed his first professional contract with the Vegas Golden Knights, a three-year entry level deal with the franchise that drafted him in 2017.
Patera appeared in 41 games for the Wheat Kings during the 2019-20 season, posting 5 shutouts and a franchise-best 2.55 Goals Against Average to go along with a .921 save percentage in his second and final season in Brandon. The first ever european-born goalie to play for the Wheat Kings, he finished his tenure in style winning the WHL’s Eastern Conference Goaltender of the Year Award as well as being named the team’s Most Valuable Player.
Prior to joining the Wheat Kings, the native of Praha, Czech Republic was drafted by the Golden Knights in the 6th round (161 overall) of the 2017 NHL Entry Draft while playing for the USHL’s Cedar Rapids Roughriders. In his first season with the Wheat Kings in 2018-2019, Patera had a GAA of 3.31 and a save percentage of .906 in 48 games played. After a slow first half of the season due to injury in his 2019-2020 campaign, Patera caught fire in the second half of the season winning multiple WHL Player of the Week honours and posting 4 of his 5 shutouts in the month of January alone.
While the National Hockey League begins to move forward in finishing their 2019-20 season, Phase 3 of the league’s Return to Play program includes training camps opening on July 10 before an eventual 24-team tournament is played in two hub cities that have yet to be named. Patera is not eligible to dress for the Golden Knights for this remainder of the 2019-20 season.