Photo courtesy of the Sarnia Sting via X. Photo courtesy of the Sarnia Sting via X.

Sting add pair in Wednesday's CHL Import Draft

The Sarnia Sting made a pair of selections during Wednesday's Canadian Hockey League (CHL) Import Draft.

They chose Ruslan Karimov from Almetyevsk, Russia in the opening round. Sarnia ended up selecting fifth overall after Tri-City passed on their pick.

The 17-year-old Karimov put up 15 goals and nine assists in 35 games played in Russia's junior hockey league last season.

Sting General Manager Dylan Seca said the club had been tracking Karimov's progress since around December once they knew the Russian players would become CHL-eligible.

"We wanted to target high end talent and make sure the players had out clauses in their contracts, and Ruslan had both of those," said Seca. "We were able to make contact with his agent, and the great thing is it's actually one we've worked with in the past. We're pretty excited to have a great relationship and a player that we know is really excited to get here and ready to go right now. We'll be working on the paperwork to get it done here shortly. We expect to see him in our lineup, and our expectation is for him to be a dynamic player. We'll let him adjust, but at the end of the day we expect him to be someone that will be really important for our team over the next couple of years."

Sarnia then picked Swedish defenseman Jack Bodin in the second round.

The 6' 4", 211 pound Kumla native celebrated his 18th birthday Wednesday.

He had six goals and six assists in 46 games played with the Orebro HK Junior team this past year, and was also the captain of Team Sweden at the U17 tournament.

Seca said Bodin is a player the Sting's scouts watched at this year's five nations tournament in Plymouth.

"He's a big, bruising defender that can make a play but more importantly he's just a real strong and tough kid that knows his role. I think he'll round out our D core. Both of these players are guys that we think will be here for multiple years. That's something that's also important when you're drafting at the import draft."

The Sting finished last season with just one import player on the roster after Alex Cajkovic was acquired from North Bay.

Fellow import Sandis Vilmanis went to the Batallion.

Cajkovic is planning on returning to Slovakia this coming season.

The Sting's other import player, Roman Kukumberg, left part way through last year to return to Slovakia.

Each team is allowed to dress a maximum of two import players each season.

Since the first CHL Import Draft was held in 1992, over 2,000 players from outside of Canada and the United States have been selected at the annual event.

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