IceDogs add import defenceman
The Niagara IceDogs did the expected and drafted a defenceman with the fourth overall pick of the Canadian Hockey League Import Draft Wednesday.
The IceDogs selected Urban Podrekar, a 2005 born, 18-year-old from Kranj, Slovenia, who is listed at six feet and 185 pounds.
The left-shot defenceman, who is undrafted, played this past season with HK Olimpija Ljubljana in Slovenia, splitting time between the U19 team and the professional team in the Ice Hockey League (ICEHL). In 11 games with the U19 team, Urban recorded four goals and 11 assists for 15 points. Meanwhile, Urban suited up in 24 games in the ICEHL, recording one point.
Podrekat also had the opportunity to suit up with his national team of Slovenia on three separate occasions throughout the year. He donned the Slovenian jersey at the U18 division 1B World Junior Championships, recording five points while also suiting up in five games for the U20 Slovenian National Team at the Division 1A World Junior Championship before playing two games for the Slovenian Men’s National Team. He enjoyed success in a variety of ways on the national level this past season, leading the U18 WJC (D1B) in goals and points by a defenceman while capturing defenceman of the tournament honours.
“We are thrilled to welcome Urban Podrekar to the IceDogs family,” interim IceDogs general manager Wes Consorti said. “Urban is a fluid skating defenceman who possesses a high hockey IQ. His ability to join the rush and win battles was evident playing professionally at only 18 years of age in the ICEHL and will bolster our back end as we head into the 2023/24 season.”
IceDogs owner Darren DeDobbelaer previously told BPSN the club would be looking at the Import Draft to solidify the blueline after losing overage defencemen David Jesus, Gerard Keene and Nathan Ribau. As well, defeneman and former captain Landon Cato has been suspended by the OHL after a third-party investigation found Cato and goaltender Joshua Rosenzweig participated in serious violations of both the OHL’s maltreatment, bullying and harassment prevention policy and its code of conduct.
Other defencemen selected following Podrekat include Arttu Karki of Finland, who was selected seventh overall by Sault Ste. Marie and is second-round selection of the Las Vegas Knights; Emil Pieniniemi of Finland, who was chosen by the Kingston Frontenacs 11th overall and is a second-round pick of the Pittsburgh Penguins and Rasmu Kumpulainen of Finland, a second-round pick of the Minnesota Wild who was selected 14th by the Oshawa Generals.
The IceDogs passed on their pick in the second round. Valdemar William Hull is the other import on the roster. Teams are permitted two imports.
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