The CHL, which consists of the OHL, QMJHL, and WHL has recently enacted a new policy that will discriminate against certain players joining their leagues. This new policy has been targeted specifically against European born goaltenders. The CHL’s rationale for this move is because Canada has fallen behind some of the other countries in producing top end goaltenders.
The policy will put drafting restrictions on European goaltenders in the 2013 entry draft. European goalies will only be allowed to be drafted in Round 1 in the upcoming draft. In 2014 no European goalies will be eligible to be drafted into the CHL. This is in addition to the current league policy that only allows for each team to have 2 “import” players.
This move is ridiculous on a few fronts, first off, the mere premise that a league would decline the services of quality players based on where they are from or what position they play in this day in age is ludicrous. It shows a true inferiority complex that never existed within Canadian hockey before. Banning European goalies from playing in certain junior leagues is not going to help produce more quality Canadian goalies; it is just going to make sure that the CHL’s competition gets stronger. The USHL and US College teams will be more than grateful to take on these talented players that have been turned aside.
The development of players starts way before junior hockey, if there is a legitimate concern with the amount of high end Canadian goaltenders being produced, the focus should be directed at the youth stages of development not the major junior hockey.
The funniest part of this new policy is the fact that the CHL has a deal in place with the NHL that does not allow its players to be eligible for call-ups to the AHL. On one hand the CHL wants protection from losing their players to the AHL and then on the other hand they are turning away players based on where they are from and what position they play. Hypocrisy at it’s finest.
Take for example a player like Mikhail Grigorenko last season, clearly too good for junior hockey but not quite good enough for the NHL this past season. If only there was a league that was in between the level of junior hockey and NHL… The CHL is preventing players from proper development in a selfish attempt to keep their star players (at least the star players they deem acceptable to join their league).
As more and more restrictions are put on non Canadian players in the CHL, more players will choose to go a different route in their development. What is the CHL’s loss will be the gain for other leagues.
If the CHL wants to continue to artificially prop up the quality of their league up by denying call-ups to the AHL, they shouldn’t be putting restrictions on players looking to join their league based on location/position.
Hockey is a global game now, if you don’t want to include everybody that is fine, but don’t look for help from the NHL in keeping players from the AHL if you aren’t willing to accept all players who are talented enough to play.
The CHL's decision to ban European goalies in effort to prop up Canadian goalies is proof that Canada is starting to lose it's strangle hold as hockey's only global superpower. If you can't beat them, kick them out.
Thanks for reading!