I came across a very in-depth article on the Australian Ice Hockey League’s Perth Thunder and the fact that they lost their best imported player (and best player in the league by far with 47 points in 16 games played) to a brand new contract with a club in Austria.
The coach of the Perth Thunder specifically pointed out the importance of imported players and how it helps to shape and mold not only the team, but the Australian Ice Hockey League itself.
“Recruiting players like Mike play well for us, but also help us develop the culture we strive for by imparting his influence, knowledge and experience. This, in turn, has and will guide and keep us on the right road to success.” Stan Scott, Perth Thunder head coach.
And he’s right. The only way to increase your development as a player, team, or league is to play against or with better players. I’ve been arguing and defending the importance of player imports in the CHL. The fact that the Canadian Hockey League may indeed ban all imported junior hockey draft picks is detrimental to the league itself. Did I mention that doesn’t include Americans though? How fair is that?
I realize that we are one of the best, if not the best, hockey nation in the world. Do you think we got here on our own? Of course not. It was playing against better players from all over the world. It came from playing the Soviets in ’72 and in numerous World Juniors and Canada Cups. It came from playing with Fins, Swedes, and Russians in the junior leagues through to the National Hockey League in the 90’s.
“Magic” Mike Forney might be gone from down under but his imported significance will live with the Perth Thunder for years to come. Bravo to Stan Scott and the whole Perth Thunder organization.