Vancouver Giants Well Represented at 2018 Winter Olympics
Five former Vancouver Giants will be vying for Gold at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea. Former forwards Gilbert Brule (Canada), Michal Repik (Czech Republic), and Andrej Kudrna (Slovakia) along with defencemen Jonathon Blum (USA) and Juraj Valach (Slovakia) will take the ice for their respective nations beginning on February 14th.
Gilbert Brule (1987 – North Vancouver, B.C.) – Originally selected first overall by the Giants in the 2002 WHL Bantam Draft, Brule made an incredible impact on the Giants over the course of his tenure between 2003-2006. Over the course of his 165-game WHL career, Brule finished with 87 goals and 98 points for 185 points. He added 22 goals and 22 assists in 39 career playoff games. He was the 2003-04 WHL Rookie of the Year, the 2004-05 CHL Scholastic Player of the Year and was the 2005-06 WHL Playoff MVP when the Giants earned their league championship victory over the Moose Jaw Warriors. In 2005 he was selected sixth overall by the NHL’s Columbus Blue Jackets and spent parts of eight seasons in the NHL with Columbus, Edmonton and Phoenix. In 299 career NHL games, Brule posted 43 goals, 52 assists and 156 penalty minutes. Brule has spent each of the past four seasons in the KHL and currently plays for the Kunlun Red Star where he leads the team in scoring with 17 goals and 18 assists through 47 games.
Michal Repik (1988 – Vlasim, Czech Republic) – In 2005, the Vancouver Giants selected Michal Repik 21st overall in the CHL Import Draft. He’d spend all three of his WHL seasons with Vancouver and compiled 75 goals and 93 assists for 168 points in 176 career games. In 46 additional playoff games, Repik tallied 18 goals and 25 assists for 43 points. Repik helped guide the Giants to a league championship in 2005-06 and a Memorial Cup championship in 2006-07. During the Memorial Cup tournament Repik finished as the tournament’s top scorer and was a tournament all-star. He also led the WHL in playoff scoring that season. In 2007 Repik was selected in the second round (40th overall) by the Florida Panthers. Over the course of four seasons, Repik suited up in 72 games with the Panthers and had nine goals and 11 assists for 20 points. Repik currently plays for HC Sparta Praha in the Czech Republic.
Andrej Kudrna (1991 – Nove Zamky, Slovakia) – In 2008 the Vancouver Giants selected Andrej Kudrna in the first round (58th overall) in the CHL Import Draft. He played parts of two seasons with the Vancouver Giants (2008-2010) where he registered 18 goals and 20 assists for 38 points in 72 games. He added a goal in 14 additional playoff games. Following his WHL career, Kudrna has played each of the past seven seasons professionally and currently plays alongside Michal Repik for HC Sparta Praha.
Jonathon Blum (1989 – Long Beach, CA) – In Round 7 of the 2004 WHL Bantam Draft, the Giants selected defenceman Jonathon Blum. His four seasons (2005-2009) with the Vancouver Giants were filled with team and individual accolades. He played a big part in the Giants league championship victory in 2005-06 and finished with the WHL’s top plus-minus rating during the Giants 2006-07 Memorial Cup Championship season. The following season he was named a second-team WHL all-star and in 2008-09 he was named both WHL and CHL Defenceman of the Year. In 2007 he was selected 23rd overall by the Nashville Predators in the NHL Draft and has since suited up for 110 NHL games with Nashville/Minnesota. Blum has spent the past three season in the KHL most recently with Sochi HC.
Juraj Valach (1989 – Zvolen, SVK) – Valach’s stint with the Giants was a short one during the 2007-08 season. He played three games for the Giants and snagged a goal and three assists before he was dealt to the Regina Pats. His WHL career spanned three seasons and 129 games and featured stops in Tri-City, Vancouver, Regina and Red Deer. He’s spent the last 10 seasons playing professionally, most recently with Pirati Chomutov in the Czech Republic.
The Vancouver Giants would like to congratulate all five of their alumni, and wish them the very best in their quest for an OIympic Gold Medal at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang!