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Spokane Chiefs

Import players Pavel Kousal and Ondrej Najman not returning to Spokane Chiefs next season

Chiefs center Pavel Kousal (21) and will not return next season. (Colin Mulvany / The Spokesman-Review)

Czech Republic players Pavel Kousal and Ondrej Najman won’t return to the Chiefs next season, Spokane general manager Scott Carter confirmed Tuesday.

“We’re really excited for them to sign a pro contact back in their homeland,” Carter said. “To move on to play at a high level in their home country is a feather in the Chiefs’ cap. Both are outstanding young men and the chance to play at home is going to be a great opportunity.

“It takes a lot of guts to move all the way from Czech Republic to Spokane to follow their dream of playing hockey. You got to hand it to them for that.”

Kousal and Najman, who share the same agent, signed with BK Mlada Boleslav of the Czech Extraliga in the Czech Republic, the country’s highest level of competition.

Neither player found their footing while in Spokane.

Najman, a 22nd-overall pick in the 2016 Central Hockey League Import Draft, finished with 25 points and five goals in 65 games playing the center position in his lone season as a Chief. Kousal, the 82nd overall pick in the 2016 Import Draft, scored 10 points in 49 games.

The Spokane Chiefs’ two import spots are now vacated for the 2017 CHL Import Draft on June 28.