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Winter Hawks add German, Swede

The Portland Winter Hawks went into unchartered territory last year by drafting Jannik Hansen, the first Dane to play in the Western Hockey League. He turned out to be pretty good.

This week, Portland drafted a German (Stefan Langwieder) and a Swede (Viktor Sjodin) in the Canadian Hockey League import draft.

Assistant coach Brian Pellerin says the Winter Hawks drafted Langwieder in the second round based on a recommendation by the player's coach, Greg Poss, a former minor-league teammate of Pellerin's. Langwieder is a 6-foot, 187-pound, two-way defenseman and has played on the German junior national team.

'He simply brings maturity to our lineup along with a very simple, effective game,' General Manager Ken Hodge says.

Sjodin, a left wing and first-round import pick, 'comes highly recommended and plays the style of hockey Portland fans enjoy,' Hodge says. 'He is robust, physical and makes space for his teammates.'

Sjodin is 6-0, 207 and was selected by Nashville in the recent NHL draft.

Adds Hodge: 'He's a strong player who plays with good intensity. Sjodin likes to play the body and does it fairly well. He forechecks hard and never stops working.'

The Winter Hawks still can protect Stanislav Balan and Hansen. But Balan could play pro in the Czech Republic and Hansen will probably sign with the Vancouver Canucks and play in the minors this season.

Each WHL team can carry two European players on its roster.