Ontario Hockey League grad Marek Kvapil will return to the KHL for 2017-18 after a year away playing in his native Czech Republic. Kvapil has signed with Amur Khabarovsk in the KHL for one year. He played 2016-17 with HC Kometa Brno in the Czech Extraliga. Neither team had a successful campaign this season.
Marek Kvapil played one season in the OHL, 2004-05, with the Saginaw Spirit. He was the eleventh overall pick by Saginaw at the 2004 CHL Import Draft. In his single season with the Sprit, Marek scored 25 and assisted on 37 for 62 points in 53 games.
During that season, Kvapil played for the Czech Republic at the 2005 IIHF World Junior Hockey Championships, held in Grand Forks, North Dakota. The Czechs won bronze with a 3-2 overtime win over the United States. Canada won gold and Russia took home silver. Marek had five points in seven games.
The Tampa Bay Lightning selected Kvapil in the sixth round of the 2005 NHL Entry Draft, 163rd overall. Since 2005-06, he has played pro hockey in the AHL, ECHL, Czech Extraliga and the KHL.
Kvapil helped Dynamo Moscow to consecutive Gagarin Cup championships in 2011-12 and 2012-13. He last played in the KHL in 2015-16 with Medvescak Zagreb and Neftekhimik Nizhnekamsk. Amur Khabarovsk will be his fifth KHL team.
This past season, he played 49 games for HC Kometa Brno, scoring 15 and assisting on 25 for 40 points. He tied for seventh in the league for points and tied for sixth in assists.
Amur Khabarovsk have not reached the post season since 2011-12 and have yet to win a playoff series in the KHL. The president of the club is Alexander Mogilny and the team plays home games at the Platinum Arena in Khabarovsk, Russia, a 7,100 seat venue that opened in 2003.
Khabarovsk is a city of around 600,000 residents, located in the far east of Russia, just 30 kilometres from the border with China. The city is located where the Ussuri River meets the Amur. Khabarovsk is 8,300 km east of Moscow, Russia. In contrast, the city is just 6,800 km west of Vancouver, British Columbia and Canada.
The city is the birthplace of OHL grad Evgeny Gratchev, a former member of the Brampton Battalion. It is also the birthplace of former NHL scoring sensation Alexander Mogilny.