Brandon, Man. – The Western Hockey League’s Brandon Wheat Kings have announced that they’ve signed import goalkeeper Jiri Patera.
A 19-year old native of the Czech Republic, Patera spent the 2017-18 campaign with Cedar Rapids of the USHL after being chosen by the Vegas Golden Knights in the sixth round (161st overall) of last year’s National Hockey League Draft.
Patera, who was the Wheat Kings second round selection in June’s Canadian Hockey League Import Draft, becomes the first ever European goalkeeper to be chosen by Brandon.
In 34 games with the USHL’s Roughriders last season, the 6’2” 209 lb netminder compiled a 3.24 goals against average and a .901 save percentage.
Prior to coming to North America, Patera was a member of HC Ceske Budejovice and represented his country at the World U18 Junior Hockey Championships.
The Wheat Kings, who closed out the 2017-18 season with veteran Dylan Myskiw and rookie Ethan Kruger between the pipes, still have the rights to two dynamic imports heading into camp later this month.
Swedish defenceman Erik Brannstrom was selected by Brandon in round one of this year’s CHL Import Draft, after going fifteenth overall to the Golden Knights in 2017. Meanwhile Martin Kaut of the Czech Republic was the Wheat Kings first round pick in the 2017 CHL Draft and after playing professionally in his hometown last season, he was chosen by Colorado in the opening round of this past June’s NHL Draft.
Signed by the Golden Knights this past year, Brannstrom scored two goals and 15 points in 44 regular season games with HV71 Loan in the Swedish Elite League in 2017-18. He also helped Sweden capture a silver medal at the World Junior Hockey Championships.
Kaut meanwhile scored nine goals and 16 points with HC Dynamo Pardubice this past season.
CHL teams are permitted to carry a maximum of two imports.