Flint, Mich. – The Flint Firebirds announced today that the club has selected defenseman Dmitry Kuzmin (pronounced dih-MEE-tree, kooz-min) as the 46th-overall pick in the 2020 CHL Import Draft.
Kuzmin, a native of Kholstovo, Belarus, recorded an impressive 25 points (6G, 19A) in 33 games, including a plus-34 rating, as an underager with the Belarus Under-18 National Team this past season. The 5-foot-8, 176-pound left-shot defenseman also tallied seven points and a plus-7 rating in 24 games playing against two age-groups ahead of him with the Belarus Under-20 National Team.
He was nominated as the Best Defenseman Award at the Vlado Dzurilla Tournament this past February after winning a Silver Medal with Team Belarus at the European Youth Olympic Festival (EYOF) in February 2019. Kuzmin is a prospect eligible for the 2021 NHL Draft.
Kuzmin is the second Belarusian to be selected by the Firebirds in the CHL Import Draft and has the chance to join Vladislav Kolyachonok (Florida Panthers) and Evgeniy Oksentyuk as the third player from Belarus to play for the Firebirds.
Last season, the Firebirds selected Oksentyuk with the 5th-overall pick in the 2019 CHL Import Draft. Oksentyuk eventually led the Firebirds with 78 points (33G, 45A) in 58 games and was recognized by the Canadian Hockey League (CHL) as one of the top-5 impact players from last year’s CHL Import Draft. The Brest, Belarus native set a Firebirds’ franchise record for the longest point-streak by a single player, recording a point in 17 consecutive games from Nov. 15, 2019 – Jan. 17, 2020. After choosing to move to Flint and play with the Firebirds, Oksentyuk is now expected to hear his name called at the upcoming 2020 NHL Draft.
The import draft is seen as a way to raise the level of competition in the CHL, as well as to broaden its fan base while retaining high North American content.
The 29th annual CHL Import Draft included 66 players consisting of 38 forwards, 22 defensemen, and six goaltenders. The 66 players were chosen from 11 different countries featuring a draft-high 15 players from Russia.
About The Flint Firebirds:
The Flint Firebirds are a proud member of the prestigious 20-team Ontario Hockey League. The OHL is one of three leagues that constitute the 60-team Canadian Hockey League (CHL), which is known as the world’s premiere player development league for the NHL. On NHL opening day rosters in October, 70% of NHL players were CHL alums. Since the Firebirds’ inception in Flint, Michigan five seasons ago, the team has produced 18 NHL signed or drafted players. More than 250 scouts representing all 31 NHL clubs attended a Firebirds game in Flint throughout the 2019-20 season. The Firebirds average nearly 3,000 fans per game at the newly renovated Dort Federal Credit Union Event Center, reaching over 100,000 fans each OHL season.
For media inquiries, contact:
Director of Broadcasting & Communications
Flint Firebirds Hockey Club