July 13 2009 09:06AM
David Musil grew up in Edmonton. His dad, Frank, you might remember, played for the Edmonton Oilers for three seasons. He's been employed by the Oilers as a scout since he retired as a player in 2001.
Frank's baby boy used to have the run of Rexall Place when his dad played here. You'd see him around the dressing room. David would throw on his skates and helmet and wobble around out on the ice after practice.
Zip ahead to 2009, and little David is a six-foot-five defenceman projected by some to be a top-five pick in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft, and he's coming to North America to play in the Western Hockey League this season.
Call me crazy, but. given the above, I'd have thought the Edmonton Oil Kings, the WHL team owned by the Oilers, might have had a pretty good shot at landing Musil.
Apparently, the Oil Kings had no shot. None. No, David Musil will play the 2009-10 WHL season with the Vancouver Giants. My question is why? My question is how? More on that later.
First. here's the skinny on Musil's convoluted journey from the Czech Republic to Vancouver, the unofficial WHL Welcome Wagon for young Czech players, from Greg Drinnan of the Kamloops Daily News. It's from Drinnan's Taking Note blog this past Saturday.
How it went down
"So, it would seem the WHL gathered its pooh-bahs in a closet and held a draft of some sort to decide for whom D David Musil, the 16-year-old son of former NHLer Frantisek Musil, should play. Even though I’m thinking it already had been decided that he would play for the Vancouver Giants and only the Vancouver Giants. Even with the decision having already been made, it would seem that there was more clandestine activity around this draft than in any of the Jason Bourne movies. Anyway, the Kootenay Ice — as reported by radio voice Jeff Hollick — won the draft, which means, one supposes, that they got the short straw. But wait... there’s more. The Musil family, wanting their son playing major junior hockey, apparently has relocated from Czech Republic to the Lower Mainland area of B.C. Which, if you check a map, isn’t in close proximity to Cranbrook, which is in B.C., but isn’t quite what the Musils had in mind for David, who is said to be one of the top prospects for the NHL's 2011 draft. So, enter the Giants. The Giants apparently have traded a 2010 fifth-round bantam pick and a 2011 first-round bantam pick to the Ice for Musil’s rights. David Musil, who grew up in Edmonton, stands 6-foot-5. He had one assist in 14 games with Dukla Jihlava in the Czech Elite League. Yes, he was the youngest player in the league. He also had six points in nine games with Dukla Jihlava’s junior side. He also had three points in four games with the Czech U-17 team and two in 13 games with the U-18 team. But, as a 1993-born player, he wouldn’t have been eligible for the CHL import draft until 2011. Thus, one supposes, the need to hold this special draft, what with the family having relocated to North America."
So, Frank Musil — did I mention he's an Oilers scout? — wants his son to play major junior hockey. Makes sense. Likewise, its understandable that he wants to be as close to his son as possible.
So, Frank — did I mention he's an Oilers scout? — decided to move his family to the Lower Mainland and not to Edmonton, the city in which the team that employs him, plays. The city in which the WHL team the Oilers own, the Oil Kings, play. Got a problem with that?
It just so happens the Oil Kings made a trade with the Chilliwack Bruins with an eye to taking Musil in the 2011 CHL Import Draft. That, and the same line of thinking — that Musil wants his son to play major junior hockey and would prefer to be close to his son — could have landed the younger Musil in Oil Kings silks, no?
If you believe that somebody at some point told Kootenay management Musil would play for Vancouver and nobody else, thus prompting the trade between the Ice and Giants, could that somebody have not steered Musil to the Oil Kings — did I mention the Oilers own the Oil Kings? — through the same channels?
No sniff for Edmonton
Did Frank Musil ever try to steer his son toward the Oil Kings or did he just take a hands-off approach and leave it to somebody else? Did Frank Musil ever give the Oil Kings a heads-up his son wanted to come west?
What are the odds agent Edmonton Ritch Winter and his Sports Corporation, which used to represent the old man, are that somebody else? Do they represent David Musil? I'm guessing Frank Musil didn't orchestrate this by himself.
Other Sports Corporation clients of Czech origin, notably Marek Schwarz and Andrej Meszaros, also ended up in Vancouver in recent years. Now Musil. Maybe the meal money is better there.
I'm guessing Oil Kings GM is Bob Green isn't too happy right now. Green had a track record of success in Medicine Hat and he's put together a pretty decent team here in just three seasons. Musil would have been a prized recruit and prime addition.
I can't imagine the Oilers, who pay Musil's salary, are overjoyed about how this went down, either.
Nor should they be.
-- Listen to Robin Brownlee every Thursday from 4 to 6 p.m. on Just A Game with Jason Gregor on Team 1260.