The Red Deer Rebels selected Frantisek Formanek with the 14th overall selection in the 2021 CHL Import Draft. (Photo courtesy of Red Deer Rebels)

Rebels select Czech forward with lone CHL Import Draft pick

Rebels picked 17-year-old Frantisek Formanek

The Red Deer Rebels have found help up front in the CHL Import Draft.

Red Deer picked 2004 Czech-born forward Frantisek Formanek with the 14th overall selection in the draft Wednesday. Formanek was the Rebels lone pick after Finnish blueliner Christofer Sedoff elected to return next season.

“Normally you have a pretty good feel of how it’s going to go but there’s some uncertainty early. We were happy with the player we took,” said Rebels assistant GM Shaun Sutter.

“We identified a forward and after Sedoff committing that he was going to come back. Formanek is not a tall guy, but he plays big and he’s a real talented guy. He’s one of those guys that’s undersized, that everyone is drawn to by the way plays and the energy he plays with.”

Formanek, 17, is listed five-foot-nine, 179-pounds and played in the HC Pardubice organization last season. He played one game in the Czech top professional league and scored one goal.

The left-shot winger from Chrudim, Czech Republic spent the majority of last year with HC Stadion Vrchlabi in the Czech second league as a 16-year-old, where he recorded three goals and two assists over 22 games. He had four goals and four assists in three games with HC Dynamo Pardubice U17.

“He played in the second league pro, that’s why his numbers aren’t as gaudy. For a 16-year-old, he was playing pro. He went up and played one game in the top league and scored,” Sutter said.

“He was one of those guys, that we felt even though there were a lot of games, really played well when he went up and played at the top level. That kinda pushed him to the front of the line.”

Sutter noted they were able to tap into a few good NHL scouting reports on the forward and that helped build his profile. It also helped that Formanek showed an interest in joining the Rebels.

“Not only do we get a good player, but we get a good player that wants to play for us which is really important,” he said.

With their strength up the middle between captain Jayden Grubbe and Ben King, adding a dynamic, skilled winger was the ideal fit. Red Deer now boasts a likely top six of Grubbe, King, Arshdeep Bains, Liam Keeler, Kalan Lind and Formanek.

“He’s a winger, he can play either side, we’ve got some good centremen. We’re excited to add him. He’s a talented guy who plays with a lot of grit and energy. He’ll be a real fun guy for our fans to watch,” Sutter said.

Rebels training camp will start in September and they will open the season on Oct. 1 in Edmonton against the Oil Kings.

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