It appears 2021 is off to a roaring start for Filip Koffer, and now, he's put pen to paper on his first contract.
The Prince George Cougars forward has signed a multi-year deal with HC Dynamo Pardubice, who play in the highest level of professional hockey in his home country after delivering a surprise performance with Czech Republic at the 2021 World Junior Championships.
Koffer is well-known to the organization as he's played with its Under-19 program prior to being selected by Prince George in the 2019 CHL Import Draft.
That year, he potted 38 points, including 10 goals, in 34 regular-season games.
"I want to help the team as much as possible and do a good job in the role that the coach assigns me," he said in a Dynamo team release.
"The boys took me in the cabin perfectly fine and I know the coaches from previous years. The group is great here and I'm looking forward to it."
In Edmonton, the Czechs arguably pulled off one of the biggest upsets of the World Junior tournament.
They shut out Russia 2-0 in the preliminary round with Koffer nabbing the eventual game-winning goal late in the second period.
"Filip is a very hardworking guy," said Czech Head Coach Karel Mlejnek when asked by PrinceGeorgeMatters about Koffer's performance in that contest.
"He’s a power forward that every coach wants to have on his team and we’re happy to have him.”
.@PGCougars’ Filip Koffer scores to give 🇨🇿 a 1-0 lead 🆚 🇷🇺 late in the middle period in his country’s 2nd game of the 2021 World Jr.’s! The 4th-liner takes a drop pass & fires the puck past the goaltender | #CityOfPG #WorldJuniors @PGMatters pic.twitter.com/RBGKF5GflB— Kyle Balzer (@KyleBalzer) December 28, 2020
Altogether, Koffer’s combined for a minus-two (-2) rating despite the Czechs getting outscored 17-10 in five outings, earned 74:23 of total ice time, including a tournament-high 17:43 in the rout of Russia, and five shots on goal.
The 19-year-old is eligible to represent his country once more at the 2022 World Juniors, which are also scheduled to take place in Edmonton.
Despite signing the deal on Thursday (Jan. 7), he will be able to return to Prince George once HC Dynamo Pardubice's 2020-21 season is over.
"From the beginning, his role in the team should fit mainly his defensive qualities," said Dynamo Sports Director Dušan Salfický in a team release.
"We are very pleased that another offspring and talent is returning to Dynamo."
With COVID-19 putting a long pause of the WHL, Koffer was able to play in the Czech Republic's second level of professional hockey with HC Stadion Litomerice, where he posted three points in 10 games.
His time in Prince George has been impressive as well, leading all rookies with 24 points, including nine goals, in 59 games before last season was cancelled by the pandemic.
Koffer becomes the second Cougars' import player in as many years to sign a professional contract with a hockey club overseas.
Prior to his eventual return to the northern capital, Vladislav Mikhalchuk played in the KHL and its minor-league affiliate.