The Ivan Hlinka Memorial Cup is currently taking place in the Czech Republic and Slovakia, and both of Everett’s picks in the recent CHL import draft — Finnish forward Waltteri Hopponen and Russian forward Ivan Nikolishin — are taking part. The U-18 tournament is for 1996-born players, and both Hopponen and Nikolishin are 96s, thus heading into their 17-year-old seasons.
The players’ progress can be monitored through the Ivan Hlinka Memorial Cup website. Hopponen has already made his mark, scoring the overtime winner as Finland beat the U.S. 3-2 in the tournament opener. Both Hopponen and Nikolishin currently have one point through two games.
Hopponen, Everett’s first-round pick, is expected to report. Nikolishin, Everett’s bonus second rounder because Swiss defenseman Mirco Mueller was a first-round NHL draft pick, was expected to remain in Russia this season, but his status is still unknown at this point. Mueller is not expected to stick with the NHL’s San Jose Sharks, and the Tips will ultimately only be able to field two of their three Europeans.