It’s not the end of the world but, Canadiens 2013 fourth round draft pick Martin Reway is abandoning his final year of junior eligibility with the QMJHL’s Gatineau Olympiques to rejoin Sparta Prague of the Czech Extraliga next season. The Gatineau team management made the announcement late Wednesday night.
Reway, at the age of 19, seems to think that he has learned all he can at the junior level and wants to move to the next step. Under North American rules, he had only two options; make the Canadiens out of training camp or be returned to Gatineau. There is no Hamilton Bulldogs option available to him until his junior eligibility has been exhausted. But he can play pro hockey in the Czech Extraliga.
Another reason for his return to the Czech Republic is Reway’s disenchantment with Gatineau coach Benoit Groulx. At one point last week, Reway’s agent Michal Sivek suggested to the Czech website hokej.cz that his client might be interested in remaining in North America if Gatineau were able to trade him to another junior team, something that failed to materialize. This week Groulx was named head coach of the team that will repesent Canada at the World Junior Championship in December.
amed Head Coach of Canada’s national junior teamAlthough born in Prague, Reway’s parents are from Slovakia and he is considered for hockey purposes a dual citizen.
Last season Reway, who is generously listed at 5’9″, scored 20 goals and 62 points in an injury interrupted 43 games with Gatineau. He was named the Canadian Hockey League’s Player of the Week in November. At 1.44 points per game, he ranked 10th in the QMJHL. In nine playoff games he added 5 goals and 10 assists.
His decision won’t affect his NHL rights. The Canadiens will continue to hold them until next June when they have to either sign him to an entry level contract or allow him to go back into the NHL draft.
Of the eight players drafted by the Canadiens last June, three have not been signed to entry level contracts; Reway, Baie Comeau winger Jeremy Gregoire and Finnish forward Artturi Lehtonen. The signed include Michael McCarron, Jacob de la Rosa, Zachary Fucale, Sven Andrighetto and Connor Crisp.