Raiders select Polish and Czech forwards with two import draft picks

Team Poland’s Krzysztof Macias fires a shot on goal during an 11-2 win over Korea at the 2023 Division 1 Group B U20 World Hockey Championships. Macias was selected by the Prince Albert Raiders 15th overall in the 2023 CHL Import Draft. -- IIHF photo by Michael Chwieduk/Polish Ice Hockey Federation.

The Prince Albert Raiders looked to Czechia for their two picks in the 2024 CHL Import Draft, selecting Polish forward Krzysztof Macias 15th overall, then drafting Czech forward Matej Kubiesa 75th overall.

The 19-year-old Macias spent last season with the HC Vitkovice U20 squad in Czechia where he posted 28 goals and 24 assists in 44 games with the club. Raiders GM Curtis Hunt said Macias is a well-rounded competitor who can play in any situation.

“He’s a bigger, stronger guy. He’s a balanced scorer and he can play on both sides of the ice,” Hunt said in a press release. “We’re excited about that. I think he can add some scoring depth to our team, and we’re really excited to be adding him to the fold.”

Macias represented Poland at the 2023 Division 1 Group B World Junior Hockey Championships where he scored seven goals and added three assists in five games. That included a four goal game against Korea in Poland’s final game of the tournament.

In a video message posted to the Prince Albert Raiders’ Facebook page, Macias said he is excited to play in Hockeytown North.

“I’m happy to be selected by this team,” he said. “I’ve heard you have a special crowd. Can’t wait to see you.”

Macias is the first Polish player selected by a WHL club since 2003, when the Vancouver Giants drafted Marcin Kolusz. The pick made news in the Polish sports world, with Polish hockey website calling it “great news for Polish hockey.”

In a story posted to the website, Macias said he’s eager to play for a club with an impressive pedigree like Prince Albert’s.

“I am certainly very happy to be given this opportunity,” Macias told “Playing against the best juniors from around the world will give me a lot and I’m looking forward to it.

“I’m very happy. I’m glad that it fell on this team, which once featured players such as Leon Draisaitl, Josh Morrisey, and Mike Modano. This is only a step in the right direction. There is still a lot of work ahead of me, but I can’t wait to see how everything will look like there.”

Kubiesa, a 16-year-old from Frydek-Mistek, Czechia, split the 2022-23 season between two countries. He suited up for 17 games with the Malmo Redhawks J18 program in Sweden, posting eight goals and seven assists. He then spent 12 games with the HC Ocelari Trinec U17 club in Czechia, finishing with seven goals and nine assists.

Kubiesa had even better numbers in the post-season, putting up 13 goals and 10 assists in 14 playoff games.

“He’s a younger player with tremendous speed and one on one skill,” Raiders GM Curtis Hunt said in a press release. “He plays with energy and has a physical presence. We think he will fit in nicely with our group this year and beyond. Matej shows the ability to play with compete and physicality, and the fans are going to be pretty excited to see him play.”

Kubiesa also represented Czechia at the U17 World Hockey Challenge where he had an assist in six games.

“It is an honour to be selected by this special organization,” Kubiesa said in a video posted to the Raiders’ Facebook page. “I’m really excited.”

This is the first time the Raiders have selected a player in the import draft since 2021 when they took goaltender Tikhon Chaika.

The Wenatchee Wild made history with their first import draft pick by selecting Japanese prospect Kenta Isogai 60th overall. Isogai is the first Japanese player to ever be picked in the import draft. He spent last season with the USHL’s Youngstown Phantoms.

The WHL clubs chose players who were selected in the 2023 NHL draft. The Kelowna Rockets picked LW Jakub Stanci (St. Louis Blues) 12th overall. The Calgary Hitmen chose D Axel Hurtig (Calgary Flames) 33rd overall. The Seattle Thunderbirds tookJesse Kiiskinen (Nashville Predators) 59th overall.

While not an NHL draft pick, Swiss goaltender Ewan Huet has an NHL pedigree. He is the son of former Montreal Canadians goaltender Cristobal Huet. Ewan was picked 36th overall by the Regina Pats.

The Edmonton Oil Kings were the first WHL club on the board, selecting third overall. They chose Czech RW Adam Jecho.