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Toronto, ON. – The Brandon Wheat Kings added one player to their prospect pool in Tuesday’s Canadian Hockey League Import Draft.

With their first round selection, the Wheat Kings chose 17-year old Russian defenceman Yaroslav Busygin 39th overall. The Wheat Kings also held the 99th overall selection in the Draft’s second round but decided to pass on making a pick.

Born in 2003, the 17 year old Busygin is a 6’2”, 170 lbs. blueliner who played with three different teams during the 2019-20 season. He skated with and captained Vityaz Podolsk in Russia’s U17 league for 24 games, collecting 21 PTS (4G-17A) and 38 PIM. He also played and captained 8 games with Vityaz Podolsk’s U18 team and had 11 PTS (4G-7A) with 18 PIM. In the MHL (Molodyozhnaya Hokkeinaya Liga), Russia’s top junior hockey league, Busygin played 25 games for Russkie Vityazi Chekhov and had 5 PTS (4G-1A) with 26 PIM.

“He’s a really dependable, smart defenceman who played the off side in a difficult league. We look forward to getting Yaroslav to Brandon and accustomed to our community”, says Wheat Kings General Manager, Darren Ritchie.

CHL clubs are permitted to carry a maximum of two imports who the Wheat Kings expect to be Busygin and 22nd overall 2019 Import Draft selection, Marcus Kallionkieli from Helsinki, Finland. In 24 games with the Wheat Kings in 2020, Kallionkieli notched 11 PTS (1G-10A) after returning from injury in the second half of the season.

This year was a new challenge for CHL clubs taking part in the Import Draft as the abrupt halt to the hockey season due to the coronavirus pandemic meant a change in scouting and NHL Draft procedures. Ritchie says he and his scouting staff prepared the best they could and treated it like any other season or draft, assessing talent through game tape and getting as much information they could on eligible players.

“We do a lot of talking with a lot of people who know European players and use our contacts to sort out who the best available players are.”

The two round draft took 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 during the 2019-20 campaign.

The top pick belonged to the Ontario Hockey League’s North Bay Battalion who selected Russian right-winger, Matvei Petrov. The QMJHL’s Acadie-Bathurst chose second and took Czech goaltender Jan Bednar and the WHL’s Swift Current Broncos chose Oliver Fatul with the third overall pick. This was the second season in a row the Broncos were the Western League’s first team to pick in the Import Draft.

The last Russian-born player to be drafted by the Wheat Kings in the CHL Import Draft since it was established in 1993 and wear the black and gold is defenceman Ivan Provorov. Provorov played two seasons with the Wheat Kings, amassing 134 PTS (36G-98A) in 122 regular season games and was instrumental in helping the Wheat Kings win the 2016 WHL Championship, the same season he was was awarded the CHL Defenceman of the Year Award. Provorov was a 7th overall pick by the Philadelphia Flyers in the 2015 NHL Draft.

Seven Russians in total have now been chosen by the Wheat Kings since 1993 but only two have played in Brandon. Provorov was chosen 30th overall in 2014 while Andrei Lupandin was selected with the 28th pick of the Import Draft in 1995. Lupandin was a member of the 1996 WHL Championship Team.

The Western Hockey League plans to start their regular season on October 2, 2020 after announcing their Return to Play for 2020-21 earlier this month. The October 2 start date remains contingent on receiving the necessary approvals from government and health authorities in each of the six jurisdictions in WHL territory and the league fully intends to complete a full 68-game schedule for 2020-21, regardless of when the season begins.


The Western Hockey League announced today that 25 players have been selected from eight different nations by WHL Clubs as the 2020 CHL Import Draft was completed.

The two-round draft took 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 from the 2019-20 regular season. All CHL Clubs are permitted to carry two import players on their roster each season.

The Swift Current Broncos held the top selection of all WHL Clubs, using the third-overall pick to claim Slovakian defenceman Oliver Fatul (2002) of Tappara Tampere Jr. The 6-foot-4, 179-pound blueliner spent the bulk of the campaign with HKM Zloven of the Slovakian professional league (Tipsport Liga), recording two assists in 29 games.

With the sixth-overall selection, the Moose Jaw Warriors chose Czech right winger Martin Rysavy (2003) of Vitkovice Ostrave Jr. The 6-foot-2, 202-pound forward collected 22 points (8G-14A) in 23 games of U20 competition. He also represented his country internationally, serving as captain for the Czech Republic at the 2019 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge, registering five points (3G-2A) and capturing a bronze medal.

The ninth-overall selection saw the Tri-City Americans take Czech goaltender Tomas Suchanek (2003) of HC Ocelari Trinec Jr. The 6-foot-1, 160-pound netminder appeared in nine games for HC Ocelari Trinec at the U20 level, finishing with a 2.75 goals-against average and .923 save percentage. Suchanek was also a member of the Czech Republic team that competed at the 2019 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge, appearing in six games and earning a bronze medal.

The 2020 CHL Import Draft saw WHL Clubs select six players ranked by NHL Central Scouting for the 2020 NHL Draft, including Fatul (70th), Red Deer Rebels selection Tomas Chlubna (2002, Czech Republic; 52nd), Seattle Thunderbirds selection Samuel Knazko (2002, Slovakia; 42nd), Kelowna Rockets selection Michael Krutil (2002, Czech Republic; 27th), Kamloops Blazers selection Viktor Persson (2001, Sweden; 44th), and Edmonton Oil Kings selection Janis Svanenbergs (2001, Latvia; 76th).

One player previously selected in the 2019 NHL Draft was chosen during the 2020 CHL Import Draft, as the Winnipeg ICE chose Winnipeg Jets prospect Henri Nikkanen. The 19-year-old Finnish forward was selected by the Jets in the fourth round (113th) of the 2019 NHL Draft.

Complete results from the 2020 CHL Import Draft are available at

2020 CHL Import Draft – WHL Selections


First Round

  1. Swift Current Broncos: Oliver Fatul (RD) – Slovakia – 6’4” / 179 lbs. – August 16, 2002
  2. Moose Jaw Warriors: Martin Rysavy (LW) – Czech Republic – 6’2” / 202 lbs. – March 6, 2003
  3. Tri-City Americans: Tomas Suchanek (G) – Czech Republic – 6’1” / 160 lbs. – April 30, 2003
  4. Prince George Cougars: Jonni Karkkainen (C) – Finland – 6’1” / 181 lbs. – April 1, 2003
  5. Regina Pats: Stanislav Svozil (LD) – Czech Republic – 5’11” / 167 lbs. – January 17, 2003
  6. Red Deer Rebels: Tomas Chlubna (RW) – Czech Republic – 6’2” / 183 lbs. – July 6, 2002
  7. Seattle Thunderbirds: Samuel Knazko (LD) – Slovakia – 6’0” / 191 lbs. – August 7, 2002
  8. Kelowna Rockets: Michael Krutil (RD) – Czech Republic – 6’3” / 202 lbs. – June 3, 2002
  9. Victoria Royals: Marcus Almquist (RW) – Denmark – 5’7” / 154 lbs. – September 13, 2003
  10. Vancouver Giants: Fabian Lysell (LW) – Sweden – 5’10” / 176 lbs. – January 19, 2003
  11. Saskatoon Blades: Brad Lambert (C) – Finland – 5’11” / 172 lbs. – December 19, 2003
  12. Calgary Hitmen: Jonas Peterek (C/LW) – Czech Republic – 6’2” / 176 lbs. – February 19, 2001
  13. Brandon Wheat Kings: Yaroslav Busygin (LD) – Russia – 6’2” / 169 lbs. – February 14, 2003
  14. Winnipeg ICE: Henri Nikkanen (C) – Finland – 6’3” / 200 lbs. – April 28, 2001
  15. Prince Albert Raiders: Uladzislau Shyla (F) – Belarus – 5’9” / 147 lbs. – March 14, 2003
  16. Lethbridge Hurricanes: Nikita Chibrikov (RW) – Russia – 5’10” / 167 lbs. – February 16, 2003
  17. Medicine Hat Tigers: Oskari Kuntonen (F) – Finland – 6’1” / 180 lbs. – September 15, 2002
  18. Spokane Chiefs: David Jiricek (RD) – Czech Republic – 6’3” / 170 lbs. – November 28, 2003
  19. Kamloops Blazers: Viktor Persson (LD) – Sweden – 6’2” / 192 lbs. – November 7, 2001
  20. Edmonton Oil Kings: Janis Svanenbergs (RW) – Latvia – 6’3” / 190 lbs. – July 17, 2001

Second Round

  1. Swift Current Broncos: Vladislav Demidovich (F) – Belarus – 6’2” / 163 lbs. – May 23, 2002
  2. Tri-City Americans: Andrej Golian (LD) – Slovakia – 6’2” / 170 lbs. – March 7, 2001
  3. Vancouver Giants: Marko Stacha (LD) – Slovakia – 6’0” / 192 lbs. – March 21, 2002
  4. Calgary Hitmen: Alexei Garapuchik (LD) – Belarus – 6’2” / 189 lbs. – April 15, 2003
  5. Winnipeg ICE: Eugen Rabcan (G) – Slovakia – 6’2” / 183 lbs. – June 28, 2001

WHL Selections by Country

Czech Republic – 7
Slovakia – 5

Finland – 4
Belarus – 3
Sweden – 2
Russia – 2
Denmark – 1
Latvia – 1

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