For the first time thirteen years, the Brandon Wheat Kings have headed to Belarus for their first round CHL Import Draft selection, taking 17-year-old forward Zakhar Polshakov from the Belarussian U18 program.
In a release on the team's website, the Wheat Kings say "the 5’10”, 170-pound centreman scored nine times and added 17 assists in 38 games with his club team last season and was the Captain of the Belarus U18 team in Texas in May where he notched one assist in three games.
“Zakhar has worn a letter everywhere he has played,” said Wheat Kings General Manager Doug Gasper. “He plays a solid game in all three zones. He can play both on the penalty kill and the powerplay.”
Polshakov comes from a long hockey bloodline, as his father Alexander played twelve seasons of pro hockey in Belarus, while his grandfather Valeri served as both Head and Assistant Coach with HK Minsk, Yunost Minsk as well as Lithuania’s U18 program.
“Zakhar saw limited action at the U18’s due to a prior bout with Covid-19, but had a good showing when he was in the lineup,” added Gasper. “I feel he will really fit into our current group.”
The Wheat Kings have drafted just one other player from Belarus. In 2008, Kirill Gotovets was chosen in the first round. Gotovets never did wear the black and gold but has played in over 130 games in the American Hockey League and is currently a member of Avangard Omsk in the KHL.
The Wheat Kings elected to pass with the 98th overall selection as the club retains the rights to Russian defenseman Yaroslav Busygin (2019-1st Rd Pick) and overage forward Marcus Kallionkieli (2018 -1st Rd Pick) who have both signed professional contracts."