I was reading an article on a Yahoo hockey blog about the possibility of the Canadian Hockey League banning European imports and it got me thinking.
The man of question in this article is Alexei Dementiev; a former Nashville Predators scout turned hockey agent. According to him and things that he’s heard is that the CHL is moving to ban all import players from playing in the league. The earlier ruling of the banning of import goaltenders is just the start.
I am Canadian. I understand how important hockey is to this country. I also understand the scrutiny our players are under when they compete. Be it junior hockey, national level or international level, everyone is under the eye of the nation. What I don’t understand is if the CHL thinks that our hockey playing abilities are not up to par, goaltending or otherwise, how is it the fault of import players?
The only way you get better is to play against better players. It’s as simple as that and that goes for any sport. You want our goaltending to be amazing at an international level at the World Juniors? Easy. Have goaltenders face players with impeccable and hard to stop shots. European, Russian, Canadian, South African, doesn’t matter! If they can play the game at a superior level, it’s only going to help your development.
European and Russian players come to the CHL because of the talent in the league. So what if they go back to their home countries when their junior career is over. The next generation is just waiting behind them for their chance. It helps everyone develop and take that next step in their hockey careers.
I really hope this is not the case with the Canadian Hockey League. I’ll be really dissapointed if it is.