Saskatoon Blades defenseman Libor Hájek has signed his first professional contract, a three-year, two-way entry level deal with the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Hájek was selected by the Lightning 37th overall at the 2016 NHL Draft. A native of Smrcek, Czech Republic, Hájek has spent the last two seasons on the Blades blue line, compiling 52 points and 157 penalty minutes in 134 games played. The 6-foot-2, 202-pound defender led all Blades rookies in points (26) and assists (23) during the 2015-16 season.
Libor came to the Blades after being selected second overall at the 2015 CHL Import Draft, and quickly adjusted to life and hockey in North America. Hájek was named one of the team captains this season with Saskatoon, largely due to his tireless work ethic.
“He came here at 17, and he approaches the game like a professional,” said Blades General Manager, Colin Priestner. “He’s in the gym everyday, always diligently preparing for every game, he doesn’t take it lightly.”
Hájek is flying out today to join the Lightning’s AHL affiliate, the Syracuse Crunch, and could be in the lineup as early as Friday when the Crunch host the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins.
“It’s a dream come true, something I’ve been thinking about my whole life,” said Hájek after putting ink on paper. “Right away I called my mom and dad, and they were very happy.”
The Saskatoon Blades would like to congratulate Libor on his signing, and thank him for his dedication to the Blades on and off the ice.