CHL Import Draft

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CHL Import Draft
Date(s) Annually in June or July
Country Canada
Inaugurated 1992[1][2]
Activity Non-Canadian/American
player draft
Organized by Canadian Hockey League
Website www.chl.ca/draft/

The CHL Import Draft is an annual event in which every team in the Canadian Hockey League may select the rights to eligible import players. An import is classified as a player whose parents not residents of Canada, or the United States. The draft is conducted online, during the last week of June, or first week of July, following the NHL Entry Draft.[1] Teams from the Western Hockey League, Ontario Hockey League, and Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, systematically take turns making selections in reverse order of the team's standings in the CHL from the previous season. Teams can have a maximum of two imports which may only be obtained through the draft,[3] and teams must have an open roster space for an import player before a draft selection is made, otherwise they must pass on the opportunity.[4] The draft is open to all position players, but the Canadian Hockey League banned the drafting of European goalkeepers from 2014 to 2017. Since the first Import Draft in 1992, over 1,700 players have been selected, with many later going onto the National Hockey League. The majority of imported players come from the Czech Republic, Russia, and Slovakia.[2]

Inherent risk assessment

The Import Draft has inherent risks that teams must assess, before making a draft pick which costs $2,000 up front.[5] Drafted players may not report, therefore teams want to be certain a player will.[4] Potential draftees have often been previously chosen in the NHL Entry Draft, and thus have an incentive to report to a CHL team because NHL teams want prospects closer for development.[4] Also, there is more exposure to scouts in North America for imports not drafted by an NHL team.[4] Competition with the KHL Junior Draft for the same player is also an obstacle.[6] Imported players usually prefer playing in the CHL instead of the United States Hockey League, due to the higher level of competition.[7]

Most CHL teams have contacted few players in advance of the draft.[8] Scouting these players is difficult as most teams do not employ European scouts, but rather rely on videos and limited exposure at international tournaments.[9] Players may also have professional contracts in European domestic leagues.[8] The current system can be compared to an auction, where teams are bidding for services in competition with these other leagues, and have to pay large release fees.[10]

Once an import draftee reports to a CHL team, there is also risk involved in whether the player adapts to being far away from home, the ability to speak English or French, playing on smaller ice surfaces, and the more physical North American game.[9] There is a year-long moratorium on trading the pick, once in the CHL, which is to prevent bidding for services by larger market clubs. [10] One benefit of selecting an import player before he is drafted into the NHL, is that he is treated like a North American player in the sense that he will either have to play in the CHL or NHL, and not in the American Hockey League.[11]

Eligibility and residency

Teams may choose any player who meets age requirements, and resides outside of the normal territorial claims for the entry draft of the constituent leagues.[4] Foreign-born players have come to North America to play minor hockey in Canada or the United States, and earn local status to avoid the Import Draft.[12][13] Draft eligibility is based on the parents’ full-time residence, by looking at housing deeds, banking records, or lease agreements, rather than the length of time spent in the country.[12] Cases for local status are dealt with individually by the CHL.[12] Examples of foreign-born players classified as locals include, David Levin from Israel, Daniel Sprong from the Netherlands, and Alex Galchenyuk from a Belarussian father, despite being born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.[12] Examples of players denied local status include, Ivan Provorov and Toronto Maple Leafs prospect Nikita Korostelev from Russia, and Tampa Bay Lightning prospect Dennis Yan, despite being born in Portland, Oregon.[12]

Teams from the QMJHL have fewer American states to choose from compared to the WHL and OHL, and use the import draft to build competitive rosters.[7] The New England states also see tough competition from NCAA Division I colleges for the same players.[7]

Territorial claims of the Canadian Hockey League[3][14][15]
League Provinces & Territories States
WHL Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba,
Northwest Territories, Saskatchewan, Yukon
All states west of the Mississippi River, excluding Missouri
OHL Ontario All states east of the Mississippi River, plus Missouri,
but excluding New England states
QMJHL Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia
Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland and Labrador
All New England states

European goalkeeper ban

On June 11, 2013, the CHL announced that the upcoming Import Draft would be the final opportunity to select European goalkeepers.[16] Teams could draft 1994 or 1995 birth-year goalkeepers only in first round of the 2013 Import Draft, and current import goalkeepers in the CHL would remain eligible to continue playing until the standard age limit.[16] The CHL cited the need to improve Canadian goalkeeping as a reason behind the change.[16] The move is seen as a response to Hockey Canada's recent inability to develop top notch goaltenders.[17][18] The Canadian junior team had not won a World Junior Championship since 2009, which was blamed on poor goalkeeping.[17][18] Other signs of Canada's goalkeeper weekness include: the 2013 CHL Goaltender of the Year award went to Patrik Bartosak of the Czech Republic,[19] all three Vezina Trophy finalists in the 2012–13 NHL season were Europeans,[20] and a Canadian had not been the first goalkeeper chosen in the NHL Entry Draft in five years.[17][18] Arguments were made that Canadian goalkeepers were not getting a chance to develop, and that teams contending for a championship were drafting goaltenders from Europe.[13] The change may actually benefit the banned goalkeepers, as statistics indicate that the best European goalkeepers have been developed in their own domestic leagues.[21]

The CHL began reevaluating the ban in February, 2018, in cooperation with Hockey Canada.[1] Commissioner David Branch said that the ban was never viewed as a mistake, and its reversal was not trying to right a wrong; rather it was about comparing the development programs since put in place to best serve the interest of the Canadian goalkeeper.[1] USA Hockey has implemented similar programs, and the USHL recently slackened its import player rules, allowing more Canadians and Europeans.[1] The proposal to resume drafting European goalkeepers claims that it brings more competition, and forces Canadians to prove their talents against a broader pool.[13] In the four NHL Entry Drafts since the ban was implemented, 36 goalkeepers have been selected from Europe, 26 from elsewhere in North America (NCAA, USHL, NAHL), and 22 from the CHL.[13] For the 2018 draft, the ban was lifted and European goalkeepers became eligible again for selection.[22][23]

Draft selections by origin

List of CHL Import Draft selections, organized by IIHF member association of origin. (Updated as of 2017 draft)[2]

Nation First pick Last pick Number of
draft picks[a]
Number of
NHL players[b]
Ref.
Austria 1992 2015 17 2 [24]
Belarus 1992 2017 48 4 [25]
Belgium 2008 2008 1 0 [26]
Czech Republic 1992 2017 487 112 [27]
Denmark 1993 2017 27 6 [28]
Finland 1992 2017 92 15 [29]
France 1992 2017 6 0 [30]
Germany 1993 2017 58 7 [31]
Hungary 1998 2014 3 1 [32]
Italy 1993 2008 4 0 [33]
Japan 1993 1993 1 0 [34]
Kazakhstan 1993 2008 10 2 [35]
Latvia 1992 2016 43 7 [36]
Lithuania 1995 2008 2 1 [37]
Netherlands 2015 2015 1 0 [38]
Norway 1993 2014 16 3 [39]
Poland 1994 2003 3 0 [40]
Russia 1992 2017 369 73 [41]
Serbia 2002 2002 1 0 [42]
Slovakia 1992 2017 263 51 [43]
Slovenia 1997 2017 15 2 [44]
Spain 2001 2001 1 0 [45]
Sweden 1992 2017 127 30 [46]
Switzerland 1997 2017 63 15 [47]
Ukraine 1992 2015 46 3 [48]
United Kingdom[c] 1993 2010 4 0 [49][50]
United States[d] 2014 2014 1 0 [51]
TOTALS 1,709 334  
Notes

a Some players were selected twice in the CHL Import Draft, when not reporting to the team that initially drafted them in a previous draft. eg. Stevie Lyle from Wales, drafted twice by the Plymouth Whalers.[52]

b NHL totals indicate being on an active roster or dressed for a game, rather than a game played. eg. Levente Szuper from Hungary.[53] The NHL player also may have been chosen in the CHL Import Draft, but did not play for the CHL team which drafted him. eg. Nik Antropov from Kazakhstan.[54]

c United Kingdom totals include both England and Wales.

d Dennis Yan was born in Portland, Oregon to Russian parents, and denied OHL residency. He was later drafted by the Shawinigan Cataractes in CHL Import Draft.[55]

References

  1. ^ a b c d e Matisz, John (2018-02-24). "David Branch says lifting European goalie ban would not be about CHL righting a wrong". Toronto Sun. Retrieved 2018-06-28.
  2. ^ a b c "CHL Import Draft". Elite Prospects. Retrieved 2018-01-19.
  3. ^ a b MacDonald, David (2012-09-23). "Draft & Eligibility – Major Junior – CHL". Hockey Family Advisor. Retrieved 2018-01-19.
  4. ^ a b c d e Langridge, Jeff (2017-06-29). "CHL Import Draft Highlights". The Hockey Writers. Retrieved 2018-01-19.
  5. ^ Potrecz, Bill (2013-06-17). "OHL says no to import goalies". St. Catharines Standard. Retrieved 2018-01-19.
  6. ^ Peter, Bruce (2010-06-30). "CHL Import Draft: Is Major Junior the right path for Europeans?". Puck Worlds. Retrieved 2018-01-19.
  7. ^ a b c Mahiban, Dhiren (2018-01-26). "Top prospects ranked for 2018 CHL Import Draft". Sporting News. Retrieved 2018-06-28.
  8. ^ a b Hahn, David (2015-06-30). "CHL Import Draft: Zacha prime example of Import drafting success, plus a review of 2015 draft". Hockey's Future. Retrieved 2018-01-19.
  9. ^ a b Eide, Andrew (2015-07-02). "WHL blog: Breaking down the CHL import draft". Sportsnet.ca. Retrieved 2018-01-19.
  10. ^ a b Sapurji, Sunaya (2013-02-07). "CHL Import Draft: Can new rule changes fix a broken system?". Yahoo! Sports. Retrieved 2018-01-19.
  11. ^ Osborne, Paul (2017-06-27). "From the Stands: Guelph Storm looks at CHL Import Draft". GuelphMercury.com. Retrieved 2018-01-19.
  12. ^ a b c d e Kennedy, Ryan (2017-09-15). "In a global hockey world, who still counts as an import?". The Hockey News. Retrieved 2018-01-19.
  13. ^ a b c d Thiel, Bryan (2018-03-03). "By the Numbers: How has the CHL's Import Draft ban on Goalies worked?". Last Word on Hockey Prospects. Retrieved 2018-06-28.
  14. ^ MacDonald, David (2013-03-29). "Understanding the CHL's Major Junior Draft Process". Hockey Family Advisor. Retrieved 2018-01-20.
  15. ^ Olynyk, Nick (2014). "How To Get Picked In The OHL Draft". Junior Hockey Truth. Retrieved 2018-01-20.
  16. ^ a b c "CHL announces Import Draft change". Canadian Hockey League. 2013-06-11. Retrieved 2018-01-19.
  17. ^ a b c Kimelman, Adam (2013-06-12). "CHL moving to ban European goalies". NHL.com. Retrieved 2018-01-19.
  18. ^ a b c Cox, Damien (2013-06-11). "CHL officially moves to ban import goalies". Toronto Star. Retrieved 2018-01-19.
  19. ^ "CHL Awards". chl.ca. Canadian Hockey League. Retrieved 2017-12-24.
  20. ^ "VEZINA TROPHY VOTING HISTORY: YEAR-BY-YEAR". Hockey Goalies. Retrieved 2018-01-20.
  21. ^ Aykroyd, Lucas (2013-06-19). "CHL gets it right on goalies". International Ice Hockey Federation. Retrieved 2018-01-19.
  22. ^ "2018 CHL Import Draft set for Thursday June 28". Canadian Hockey League. 2018-06-27. Retrieved 2018-06-28.
  23. ^ "2018 CHL Import Draft set for Thursday June 28". WHL.ca. 2018-06-27. Retrieved 2018-06-27.
  24. ^ "Players from Austria in the CHL Import Draft". Elite Prospects. Retrieved 2018-01-19.
  25. ^ "Players from Belarus in the CHL Import Draft". Elite Prospects. Retrieved 2018-01-19.
  26. ^ "Players from Belgium in the CHL Import Draft". Elite Prospects. Retrieved 2018-01-19.
  27. ^ "Players from Czech Republic in the CHL Import Draft". Elite Prospects. Retrieved 2018-01-19.
  28. ^ "Players from Denmark in the CHL Import Draft". Elite Prospects. Retrieved 2018-01-19.
  29. ^ "Players from Finland in the CHL Import Draft". Elite Prospects. Retrieved 2018-01-19.
  30. ^ "Players from France in the CHL Import Draft". Elite Prospects. Retrieved 2018-01-19.
  31. ^ "Players from Germany in the CHL Import Draft". Elite Prospects. Retrieved 2018-01-19.
  32. ^ "Players from Hungary in the CHL Import Draft". Elite Prospects. Retrieved 2018-01-19.
  33. ^ "Players from Italy in the CHL Import Draft". Elite Prospects. Retrieved 2018-01-19.
  34. ^ "Players from Japan in the CHL Import Draft". Elite Prospects. Retrieved 2018-01-19.
  35. ^ "Players from Kazakhstan in the CHL Import Draft". Elite Prospects. Retrieved 2018-01-19.
  36. ^ "Players from Latvia in the CHL Import Draft". Elite Prospects. Retrieved 2018-01-19.
  37. ^ "Players from Lithuania in the CHL Import Draft". Elite Prospects. Retrieved 2018-01-19.
  38. ^ "Players from Netherlands in the CHL Import Draft". Elite Prospects. Retrieved 2018-01-19.
  39. ^ "Players from Norway in the CHL Import Draft". Elite Prospects. Retrieved 2018-01-19.
  40. ^ "Players from Poland in the CHL Import Draft". Elite Prospects. Retrieved 2018-01-19.
  41. ^ "Players from Russia in the CHL Import Draft". Elite Prospects. Retrieved 2018-01-19.
  42. ^ "Players from Serbia in the CHL Import Draft". Elite Prospects. Retrieved 2018-01-19.
  43. ^ "Players from Slovakia in the CHL Import Draft". Elite Prospects. Retrieved 2018-01-19.
  44. ^ "Players from Slovenia in the CHL Import Draft". Elite Prospects. Retrieved 2018-01-19.
  45. ^ "Players from Spain in the CHL Import Draft". Elite Prospects. Retrieved 2018-01-19.
  46. ^ "Players from Sweden in the CHL Import Draft". Elite Prospects. Retrieved 2018-01-19.
  47. ^ "Players from Switzerland in the CHL Import Draft". Elite Prospects. Retrieved 2018-01-19.
  48. ^ "Players from Ukraine in the CHL Import Draft". Elite Prospects. Retrieved 2018-01-19.
  49. ^ "Players from England in the CHL Import Draft". Elite Prospects. Retrieved 2018-01-19.
  50. ^ "Players from Wales in the CHL Import Draft". Elite Prospects. Retrieved 2018-01-19.
  51. ^ "Players from United States in the CHL Import Draft". Elite Prospects. Retrieved 2018-01-19.
  52. ^ "Stevie Lyle". Elite Prospects. Retrieved 2018-01-19.
  53. ^ "Levente Szuper". Elite Prospects. Retrieved 2018-01-19.
  54. ^ "Nik Antropov". Elite Prospects. Retrieved 2018-01-19.
  55. ^ "Dennis Yan". Elite Prospects. Retrieved 2018-01-19.

External links

  • Canadian Hockey League Import Draft page
  • Elite Prospects - CHL Import Draft
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