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Cougars select Finnish forward in CHL Import Draft

The Prince George Cougars made one selection Tuesday morning in the 2020 Canadian Hockey League Import Draft. The Cougars selected Finnish forward Jonni Kärkkäinen (’03) 12th overall in the first round.

Prince George only made one selection, passing on their second-round pick, as 19-year-old Czech forward Filip Koffer is set to return for his second season in the fall.

“Jonni is a solid all-around player with great size already,” said Cougars’ General Manager & Head Coach Mark Lamb. “He has natural leadership abilities as he was a captain for his team in Finland. He has all the intangibles you look for in a young player. He’ll fit right in.”

Kärkkäinen hails from Kerava, Finland and played last season (2019-20) with HIFK U-18 in the SM-sarja as an underage player. The 17-year-old registered 18 points (9g-9a) in 29 games and served as an alternate captain on his team. The 6’1”, 180-pound forward also played three games with Finland’s U-17 national team. Two seasons ago (2018-19) Kärkkäinen was the captain of HIFK’s U-16 team and amassed 52 points (27g-25a) in 43 games. As a 15-year-old he had two points (1g-1a) in six games with HIFK’s U-18 squad. Kärkkäinen also had four points (0g-4a) in 14 games with Finland’s U-16 team.

Kärkkäinen is the second Finn taken by the Cougars in the CHL Import Draft. The team drafted Columbus Blue Jackets goaltender Joonas Korpisalo fifth overall in 2012. Kärkkäinen is the fifth consecutive forward chosen by the team dating back to 2016.

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