Cougars sign prospects, hire therapist

European import forward Filip Koffer and midget prospect Kyren Gronick have signed on the dotted line with the Prince George Cougars.

Koffer, an 18-year-old from Hradec Kralove, Czech Republic, was the Cougars' 10th overall pick a month ago in the CHL import draft. In 38 games last season for HC Dynamo Pardubice in the Czech under-19 league he collected 10 goals and 38 points and ended up fifth in team scoring. He also drew one assist in 12 games playing with adults on Czech Extraliga.

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Koffer led the Czech under-18 team in scoring at the world championship in April with four goals and two assists in five games. He also played in the 2018 Hlinka-Gretzky Cup and helped the Czechs win bronze at the 2017 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge.

The Cougars selected five-foot-10, 150-pound Gronick in the second-round, 26th overall, in the WHL bantam draft in May. He's a Regina native who played last season for Regina Aces in the Saskatchewan double-A bantam league. As team captain, Gronick led his team in scoring with 27 goals and 53 points in 24 games.

"We're thrilled to have both Kyren and Filip committed to the Cougars - it's another significant step forward for our organization," said Cougars' head coach and general manager Mark Lamb. "We expect Filip to have an immediate impact on our roster this season, and Kyren is another key piece to our young core of prospects who will be critically important to our future."

In other Cougar news, the team has hired Mike Matthies as athletic therapist. Matthies, who grew up in Prince George, practiced his profession as a student the past two seasons in the WHL with the Victoria Royals, while earning an exercise and athletic therapy degree at Camosun College. He also served four years as an equipment manager in Hockey Canada's Program of Excellence and was with the women's national team that won the 2019 world under-18 championship in Japan. He also worked with the B.C. women's team at the 2015 Canada Winter Games.

"I'm very lucky to come into such a great organization and work for a team I grew up watching and cheering for," said Matthies. "My experiences with the Royals and Hockey Canada's Program of Excellence has helped me prepare for this new challenge."

Cougars equipment manager Ramandeep "Chico" Dhanjal was selected for Team Canada Black at the World Under-17 Hockey Challenge in Medicine Hat, Alta., and Swift Current, Sask., Nov. 2-9. Dhanjal joined the Cougars in 2008 and has worked as the team's trainer/equipment manager for 11 seasons. He's now in Calgary working at the U-17 development camp, where Cougar prospects Tyler Brennan, Craig Armstrong and Hudson Thornton are auditioning for roster spots on the three Canadian teams for the tournament.

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