Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Canadian Hockey League's Big Mistake

Yes, folks. It has been a very long time since I have written on this blog in particular. But times have changed and things have slowed down a little bit for this short while. Hopefully, I have not lost what little flare for writing I had when I consistently blogged.

However, something occurred today that made me shake my head. First reported by Sportsnet's Daren Millard via Twitter late last night, the Canadian Hockey League has limited the selection of import goalies in next month's draft to only the first round. Starting next season, import goaltenders will not be available to be selected by teams in the OHL, WHL, and QMJHL.

What is the reasoning behind this? Numbers certainly help. Only 3 of the top goaltenders in wins this season were Canadian in the NHL. The Vezina Trophy nominees for top goalie in the NHL this season are Sergei Bobrovsky, Henrik Lundqvist, and Antti Niemi all of whom are not Canadian. Because of this, it will be the fifth season in a row that a Canadian-born goaltender has not won the award. The last one was Brodeur in the 2007-2008 season. In fact, since the 1990-1991 season only four Canadian goaltenders have won the trophy (Brodeur, Roy, Belfour, and Theodore). All the others have been from the United States or Europe. Also the meteoric falls of high-profile Canadian goaltenders such as Roberto Luongo and Marc-Andre Fleury do not help the situation.

Much of this policy making comes from Hockey Canada and it is understandable that they want to improve in an area. Who would not want to? But they are going about this the wrong way. If anything this is more of a hindrance than a help. Competition is one way for people to get motivated to get better. If you want to be the best goaltender on a team or in a league you have to beat out the others and show why you are better, not just be eligible for the spot because of where you are from. Could this produce some talent? Sure, maybe a kid from Canada who would not get a shot, does, and ends up becoming the next Ken Dryden. I see the reasoning behind this move but I do not agree with it.

How this will all play out won't really be known for a while but as of right now this seems like a very backward move that is reflective of Don Cherry's xenophobic attitudes towards foreign players. What happens over the next few years will be interesting for major junior hockey and whether or not this will give all foreign players, not just goalies, a bad taste for the CHL.

All I have to say now is, "Hey NCAA, are you paying attention? Opportunity is knocking".

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