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Warriors select Slovakia’s Baco with 50th overall pick in CHL Import Draft

Right winger brings size and offensive skill to Moose Jaw line-up, joins Czech forward Rysavy as imports for 2021-22 season
Robert Baco
Slovakian forward Robert Baco is the newest member of the Moose Jaw Warriors after being selected 50th overall in the CHL Import Draft on Wednesday.
The Moose Jaw Warriors added a bit of size, skill and national team experience to their line-up with their selection in Canadian Hockey League Import Draft on Wednesday morning.

And if everything goes according to plan a month from now, they’ll have yet another player drafted by the National Hockey League. 

The Warriors used the 50th overall pick to select Slovakia-born Robert Baco, who is currently ranked 66th among European skaters by the NHL Central Scouting Bureau and 173rd overall by McKeen’s Hockey.

Moose Jaw Warriors general manager Jason Ripplinger came across Baco through TSC Agency, who held the 18-year-old forward in high regard.

“They led me to him, and I watched a lot of video on him,” Ripplinger said while taking a short break from the action at the Regina Spring Hockey Classic. “He’s a big, tall player who skates well and has a big shot and there’s a good chance he could be drafted by the NHL, so he’s a guy we’re definitely looking forward to seeing here.

“It’s always an unknown until they get here and they adapt, but from all the video we’ve seen, he looks like he’s a pretty good player.”

Baco — 6-foot-3 and 210 pounds — played the bulk of the last two seasons with HC Karlovy Vary U20 in the DHL Cup league, putting up eight goals and 23 points as a 16-year-old in the 2019-20 campaign. He added a further two goals and six points in nine games with his junior team last season, and also saw action professionally in both the Czech Elite League with Karlovy Vary and Second Division with SK Kadan.

Baco also suited up for Slovakia in the 2019 Hlinka Gretzky Cup, scoring a goal in four games.

The Warriors have already had good news when it comes to seeing Baco making the trip over.

“The paperwork is already going through,” Ripplinger said. “They already sent his passport, so we’re ready to go and now it’s just a matter of when they let him come over.”

The Warriors made a single selection in the Import Draft, as Czech forward Martin Rysavy has committed to the team for next season.

“We haven’t heard anything different, I’ve talked to his agent and it’s all good to go and we’re looking forward to seeing him for the first time as well,” Ripplinger said. 

The Warriors open their 2021-22 season on Friday, Oct. 1 when they host the Saskatoon Blades.

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