Samson Mahbod decided to activate his contract »exit clause«, and leave Medveščak for another club from Czech championship. After his first KHL season in Medveščak, Mahbod returned to Zagreb this season also, as a part of EBEL team. In Zagreb Bears jersey this season he played 37 games in the EBEL championship, won 37 points, or to be more precise, he scored 15 goals and 22 assists.
»Samson decided to move onto Czech league. We brought him in as a replacement for our injured captain Perkovich, with the arrangement that he can leave any time he wants, or when he gets a new professional opportunity, and knowing this was a possibility at the end of January«, Medveščak's sport director Aaron Fox commented Mahbod's leaving. »Of course, we would like to find a way to keep him, but he thought this was best for his career, going to play in Czech Republic for a top team. He really played well for us and was a big reason we made the top 6, and we very much appreciate that.«
With Mahbod leaving, two new players come to Medveščak – experienced Finnish player Mikko Lehtonen, and young Croat with international experience Ivan Puzić.
Mikko (Kristian) Lehtonen (1987) from Finland plays as the right forward, and he comes to Medveščak from Finnish team HPK, that plays in their national championship Liiga. A part of his sport biography is also AHL experience, with 150 games and 103 points (51+51) for Providence Bruins, 2 games in NHL for Boston Bruins, 71 games with 30 points (14+16) in KHL for Severstal Cherepovets. He also played in European NLA (41 games) in Lugano and Bern jerseys, and in Scandinavian leagues: 149 games in Swedish SHL (Skellefteå AIK, Örebro HK, Djurgårdens IF), and 196 games in Finnish Liiga (Blues, Kärpät, HPK). In HPK's jersey he played 3 games in legendary Spengler Cup. He was also a part of Finnish national U-17, U-18 and U-20 teams.
»We are glad that we agreed to terms with Mikko Lehtonen. Mikko comes to Medveščak with a wealth of experience, playing excellent hockey in top level, professional leagues. He is a great forward with great skill. He should fit in nicely and help us continue what we started here down the stretch in the qualifiers«, sport director Fox announced Lehtonen's arrival.
»We have also agreed to bring Ivan Puzić to our EBEL team, on loan from Vitkovice. He is a zero point player on our roster, and with Marko Poyhonen playing forward, he gives us some needed depth on the blue line«, Fox added about young Pužić.
Ivan Puzić is a young Croatian defenseman with years of professional experience in the Czech Republic. He arrives to Medveščak on loan from HC Vitkovice, for the rest of this season. Pužić is a part of Croatian National team.
Both new players should be available for Vienna on Friday.
Photo: MDV PRess