If Nick Malik isn’t returning to Sault Ste. Marie to play in the Ontario Hockey League when play opens up, he hasn’t told Soo Greyhounds general manager Kyle Raftis yet.
In an interview with a newspaper in the Czech Republic posted online Thursday, Malik spoke of skating this week with HC Ocelari Trinec, prompting speculation that the 18-year-old was going to stay in the Czech Republic for the 2020-21 hockey season.
Asked Thursday if Malik has spoken to him about not returning, Raftis said he hadn’t.
The Greyhounds general manager said the possibility of import players skating with teams in their home country ahead of the season isn’t out of the question.
“What you’re also going to be seeing is that a lot of European teams are opening up to skate in the next little bit and you’re going to see players skating because that’s the ice they’re going to get,” Raftis said, adding that players signing with European teams and having an out-clause in their contract is a possibility as well depending on when the OHL season opens.
Malik joined the Greyhounds on Jan. 10 and remained with the team through the rest of the regular season before COVID-19 forced the cancellation of the remainder of the regular season in mid-March along with the playoffs.