By GREGG DRINNAN
Daily News Sports Editor
If you were wondering whether Berhard Keil will report to the Kamloops Blazers for the 2010-11 WHL season, the answer is a resounding “Yes!”
“For sure I will come!” Keil wrote in an email exchange with The Daily News, and the exclamation mark was his. “This is my small dream to play in Canada in one junior league.”
The Blazers selected Keil, a native of Amberg, Germany, with the 22nd pick in Tuesday’s CHL import draft. A right-hand shot, the 6-foot-2, 205-pounder plays left wing. He turned 18 on Jan. 21.
Last season, he had 76 points, including 26 goals, in 34 games with a junior team, Jungadler Mannheim — or Mannheim Young Eagles. He added 15 points, eight of them goals, in eight playoff games.
He also played for Germany in the IIHF U-18 Division I, Group B world championship in Poland, putting up 11 points in five games. Four players off that team, which went 5-0 and outscored its opposition 51-2, were among the first 22 picks in Tuesday’s import draft.
“We were all the time concentrating before the games,” Keil wrote of that U-18 side, “and don’t think about how good (the other teams) are . . . but they were not on our level so it was easy for us because we had a great team.”
Asked to describe himself as a player, Keil responded: “I think a power forward. I go hard to the net, play hard in the corners and fight back as hard as I can.”
When it was noted that he also had 119 penalty minutes last season, Keil replied: “My penalty minutes? I don’t like them in Germany because for everything you get two minutes and when you make a big hit maybe you get a major penalty. That´s the problem here in Germany.”
This was Keil’s second full season with the Young Eagles. He had 29 points and 68 penalty minutes in 34 games in 2008-09.
The Kelowna Rockets took a second player off Mannheim’s roster when they picked centre Gal Koren, a Slovenian, with the 61st selection.
“He’s a good player,” Keil said of Koren, who had 41 points in 32 games with Mannheim.