A young defenceman from Finland is calling Cranbrook home next season.
The Kootenay ICE selected d-man Valtteri Kakkonen 11th overall in the CHL Import Draft Thursday morning.
President and GM Matt Cockell says they’re excited to add the 18-year old to their blue line.
“He’s a great skater, plays up-tempo, competes and we think the way that we see our defence and the way we want them to activate and be a part of our offence, he’s a player that will fit really well into that.” says Cockell.
Cockell says its important to stay patient with overseas players.
“[The WHL] is a little bit more physical than the league he would’ve played in in Finland.” says Cockell. “No different than any other first year player on our team, we expect there to be an adjustment period and yet we like the skill set that he brings and we think that his game actually is potentially better suited to the North American ice.”
Kakkonen collected five goals and seven assists in 50 games with J-Y-P of the Finnish Junior A league last season.
The 18-year old was the only player the ICE selected in the draft.
– Matt Cockell, Kootenay ICE president & general manager