CHL moving to ban European goalies

Tuesday, 06.11.2013 / 2:53 PM

A change in the rules of the Canadian Hockey League Import Draft could bring an end to European goalies playing junior hockey in the league.
The annual import draft is a two-round process that allows the 60 teams in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, Ontario Hockey League and Western Hockey League to pick the best junior-age European talent. Each team is restricted to two European players on its roster.
However, for the 2013 CHL Import Draft, which will be held later this summer, teams can select only goaltenders in the first round.
Starting with the 2014 import draft, goalies will be banned from the selection process and will have no other way to become eligible to play in the league. However, the two-player European limit will remain.
The ban would not apply to European goalies already playing in the CHL. They will be allowed to remain with their teams and finish their junior eligibility.
The move is seen by some as a response to Canada's recent inability to develop top-notch goaltenders. For the first time this year, all three finalists for the Vezina Trophy are European.
Poor goaltending has been blamed for Canada not winning a World Junior Championship gold medal since 2009; the CHL goaltender of year was awarded to Czech-born Patrik Bartosak of the Red Deer Rebels; the last time a Canadian-born goalie was the first at his position picked in the NHL Draft was 2008; and in the past five NHL drafts, three Canadian-born goalies have been first-round picks.
"For me, it's all about opportunity, Ron Tugnutt, a former NHL goalie who spent the past few seasons working as Hockey Canada's goaltending consultant, told The (Toronto) Star on May 30. "There's nothing wrong with goalies in our country and there's nothing wrong with how we're developing them. They're just not getting a chance to step up to the plate."