Czech forward Pavel Zacha, a top prospect for the 2015 NHL Draft, will play with the Sarnia Sting of the Ontario Hockey League, the team announced Tuesday.
Zacha was the first pick of the 2015 Canadian Hockey League Import Draft in July.
The 6-foot-3, 200-pound center had four goals and four assists in 38 games with Liberec in the top professional league in the Czech Republic as a 16-year-old last season. He also played in five games for the Czech Republic at the 2014 IIHF World Junior Championship, and had three goals and two assists to help the Czechs win the silver medal at the 2014 IIHF World Under-18 Championship.
"We are thrilled that Pavel and his family have made this decision that playing in the CHL is the best possible route for his development both on and off the ice," Sarnia general manager Nick Sinclair said. "It will be a very exciting season for Pavel as a top prospect for the 2015 NHL Entry Draft to now be able to go head to head with several other top prospects in our league. As an organization we are committed to helping Pavel achieve his dream of being an early selection in the draft. We feel very fortunate to have a talent such as Pavel commit to our organization moving forward. This announcement is another major step towards our rebuilding process."
Sarnia has had recent success with import players. The team selected forward Nail Yakupov with the second pick of the 2010 import draft and he went on to become the first pick of the 2012 NHL Draft by the Edmonton Oilers. And in the 2012 import draft, Sarnia used the 36th pick on forward Nikolay Goldobin, who was picked by the San Jose Sharks with the 27th pick of the 2014 draft.