Rebels’ import draft selection has excelled while competing against older players
Clearly, a lack of height hasn’t affected Frantisek Formanek in a negative fashion.
In fact, the five-foot-nine forward was able to compete against players twice his age last season while suiting up in the pro hockey ranks of his home country as a 16-year-old.
The 17-year-old from Chrudim, Czech Republic, was selected by the Red Deer Rebels as the 14th overall selection in the CHL import draft conducted on Wednesday, his combination of grit and talent impressing the Rebels staff.
“He’s not tall but he plays big,” said assistant GM Shaun Sutter. “He’s a fast guy with skill so in a nutshell we really like his drive and his talent.
“Even though he’s not a tall guy we feel he can come and be kind of a dynamic player in our league.”
Formanek put up big numbers as a 14- and 15-year-old with HC Pardubice in the Czech youth leagues, sniping 38 goals and collecting 73 points in 38 games at the U16 level and recording 56 points, including 32 goals, in 30 games in the U17 loop. He also racked up a total of 133 penalty minutes.
He played at four different levels in the 2020-21 season, but mostly with Stadion Vrchlabi of the Czech 2 league. In 17 games with the second-division pro team he notched three goals and added two assists.
Formanek, who weighs 176 pounds, also scored once in his lone game with Dynamo Pardubice of the men’s top tier Czech league.
“He played with men, that’s why his numbers weren’t gaudy last year,” said Sutter, who caught wind of the player and then witnessed his talents via video.
“We watched a lot of video on him. In some ways he might be an unknown but we really liked him and all of our research suggested that he would fit the criteria for what we were looking for.”
Most importantly, Sutter stressed, Formanek has indicated he will report to the Rebels in time for September’s training camp.
“Brent (Rebels GM) talked to both him and his agent and we know that he wants to come play for us.
“Hopefully he’ll be here in September. We’ll get going with everything right away. Whenever we draft a European player we send him an invitation letter and get his contract and transfer card.”