Wild Announce Signing of Bukarts to Scholarship & Development Agreement
WENATCHEE, Wash. – The Wenatchee Wild, proud members of the Western Hockey League (WHL), are pleased to announce the signing of forward Rodzers Bukarts to a Scholarship and Development Agreement for the 2023-24 season. Bukarts was the second of the two players selected by the Wild in the Canadian Hockey League (CHL) Import Draft earlier this summer.
A native of Jurmala, Latvia, Bukarts comes to the Wild with championship experience on the junior circuit in Switzerland. Bukarts helped the GCK Lions to a Swiss junior title a year ago, cranking out nearly a point per game in 36 contests, and also helped the ZSC program to a Swiss under-17 title in 2020-21. In addition to his junior experience, he has been a regular for Latvia’s international teams, earning two points in six games at the World Junior championships in Canada this past season.
“It has always been a dream of mine to play in the CHL,” said Bukarts. “I can’t wait to start the season with this incredible organization.”
Bukarts’s family also has a strong lineage in the sport – brothers Rihards and Roberts, have enjoyed long professional careers in Europe. Oldest brother Roberts has played in 10 World Championship tournaments for the Latvian national team, and has been on the European pro hockey circuit on a full-time basis since 2010. Older brother Rihards spent a three-year WHL career with Brandon and Portland before playing eight years of pro hockey, also playing for Team Latvia in six World Championship tournaments and earning a spot on Latvia’s 2022 Olympic roster. Bukarts’s father, Ralfs, has served as a general manager for HK Riga 2000 and Saga Kekava in Latvia’s professional league, and spent the 2022-23 season as a European consultant in the Florida Panthers’ scouting department.
Bukarts and Kenta Isogai’s selections in the Import Draft marked the organization’s first such picks since 2021 – the former Winnipeg ICE did not make a selection in the 2022 Import Draft, as both of the team’s allotted import players returned from the 2021-22 roster.
Tickets for Wenatchee’s home-opening games September 22 and 23 against the Portland Winterhawks and Seattle Thunderbirds are now on sale here, as well as for the September 9 preseason “Kids Day” contest against Tri-City. Admission to the Kids Day contest is free for all kids under 12 years of age. Tickets for the rest of the team’s 2023-24 regular-season home games go on sale September 8.
2023-24 season tickets are still on sale – to purchase season tickets, call 509-888-7825 or stop into the team office at Town Toyota Center. Updated news and information on Wild hockey are always available through the team’s website and on the team’s social media platforms on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.