COLUMBUS, OHIO – The Columbus Blue Jackets have loaned defenseman Oleg Yevenko to the Belarus National Team for the 2016 IIHF World Championships, club Assistant General Manager Bill Zito announced today. This year’s tournament will be held from May 6-22 in Moscow and St. Petersburg, Russia.
Yevenko, 25, registered one goal and three assists for four points and a team-leading 152 penalty minutes in 54 regular season games with Cleveland’s Lake Erie Monsters, Columbus’ American Hockey League affiliate, this season. He did not appear in a game during Lake Erie’s first round sweep of Rockford in the Calder Cup Playoffs.
“Oleg has had a very good first pro season, but right now is not a lock to play every night for Lake Erie so this is a good opportunity for him to represent his country at a high level,” said Zito, who oversees the Blue Jackets’ professional affiliates. “If we need him in Cleveland, we have the ability to recall him as the Calder Cup Playoffs progress.”
The Minsk, Belarus native was signed by Columbus to a one-year NHL/AHL contract on October 1, 2015. He has tallied 0-4-4 and 14 penalty minutes in 21 appearances for Belarus in international competition. He represented Belarus at the 2014 and 2015 IIHF World Championships and also skated in the 2009 IIHF U18 World Junior Championships.
Yevenko has collected 1-3-4 and 166 penalty minutes in 58 career AHL games, including a four-game stint with the Adirondack Flames at the end of the 2014-15 season. Prior to turning professional, he recorded 1-9-10 with 211 penalty minutes and 182 blocked shots in 132 career games with the University of Massachusetts (Hockey East) from 2011-15. He notched 0-5-5 and 51 penalty minutes in 36 games and served as alternate captain during his senior season a year ago. He finished second in the conference and 11th among NCAA Division I skaters with 89 blocked shots in 2014-15.