The Botany Swarm will welcome four new imports for the 2017 season; three forwards and one defenseman.
Defenseman Petr Zítka hails from the Czech Republic, and is a 6’1 left-handed shot. He has played the previous ten seasons in the Czech U18 and U20 leagues, before moving between the Czech 2nd and 3rd divisions with SK Horacka Slavia Trebic, HC Chotebor and HC Havlickuv Brod.
He posted a career-high 9 points in 2012 with HC Chotebor, but the strength of his game is in defence. This was on display in his first outing in a Swarm jersey, in Sunday’s preseason game vs the Admirals, where he was a noticeable presence. He has spent the last several months in New Zealand and has enjoyed getting to find out more about the New Zealand way of life so far.
American Ryan Widmar is a forward from Chicago, Illinois, and joins the Swarm after several years playing the EJHL (a Tier 3 USA Hockey league), and a season with IFK Strömsund in the second tier Swedish league, where he was a point-per-game player over 20 games. He was also noticeable in his first outing with the Swarm, playing on a line with Swarm veteran KC Ball and second-year player Ritchie Hopkinson. The three of them looked to have good chemistry as a mobile, effective, fast-moving line that were able to apply some offensive pressure.
Yet to arrive in NZ, Swarm fans can look forward to seeing Maximilian Hadraschek, a 22 year old forward from Germany. Hadraschek is a left-handed shot who has spent the previous 4 years playing in the 2nd and 3rd tier leagues in Germany, where he was an impact player for ERC Sonthofen 1999 in the playoffs.
The Swarm will also welcome another American forward, right-hand shot Alex Mitsionis of Ohio, a 20 year old who is fresh from a 42 point effort in 48 games with the NOJHL’s Iroquis Falls Eskimos, and 9 points in 9 games with the Vancouver Rangers of the WSHL.