The Spokane Chiefs are proud to announce two co-winners of the 2019-20 John “Hitman” Hern Defenseman of the Year award in Filip Kral and Ty Smith. Kral has also been recognized with the team’s Most Sportsmanlike Player award.
A 20-year-old from Blansko, Czech Rebublic, Kral posted a career-best 49 points including 12 goals and 37 assists in just 53 games played, all while also recording a +18 rating.
A fifth-round pick by the Toronto Maple Leafs in the 2018 NHL Entry Draft, Kral ranked 10th among all WHL blueliners in points and tied for 11th in goals. He tallied three points in a game three times and multiple points in 16.
With fellow honoree Ty Smith away at NHL camp with the New Jersey Devils to start the season, Kral took over as one of the leaders on the back end, donning an “A” as an alternate captain and scoring points in 16 of the team’s first 22 games, including point streaks of six, three and four games.
Kral also finished strong, notching 11 points (2G-9A) in his final 11 games including three assists in a key February 9 win over division rival Everett and two helpers in a statement victory over the Eastern Conference champion Edmonton Oil Kings on the road.
Despite playing top minutes, the smooth-skating Czech was able to avoid the penalty box, taking just four minor penalties all season and none after Dec. 27. He was one of just five WHL defensemen this season to play 50+ games while picking up fewer than 10 penalty minutes.
Kral was originally the Chiefs’ second-round pick in the 2017 CHL Import Draft (78th overall). He wraps up his junior career with 154 games played, scoring 31 goals and 89 assists for 120 points.
2019-20 Spokane Chiefs Team Awards
Player of the Year: Adam Beckman
Players’ Player: Eli Zummack
Co-Defenseman of the Year & Most Sportsmanlike Player: Filip Kral
Co-Defenseman of the Year: Ty Smith
Rookie of the Year: Bear Hughes
Humanitarian of the Year: Noah King
Scholastic Player of the Year: Reed Jacobson