Report: CHL considering ban on European goalies

30 Comments

The Canadian Hockey League is considering a ban on European goalies as a way to help Canadian and, to a lesser extent, American netminders in their development.

“The CHL has had discussions in a broader sense with Hockey Canada,” CHL commissioner David Branch told the Toronto Star. “One of the ideas put forward was eliminating goalies from the annual import draft to allow more focus on North American goalies.

“That is something we’re exploring.”

The CHL — which oversees the three major junior leagues (WHL, OHL, QMJHL) — already restricts each of the 60 teams to two European imports, regardless of position.

For Hockey Canada — which oversees the country’s various national teams — the concern with European goalies playing in the CHL is that goaltending is an area of strength for nations like the United States and Finland, but not so much for Canada.

Via InGoal Magazine:

From falling short of high expectations at the World Juniors and other international youth tournaments, to three Europeans being named as finalists for this year’s Vezina Trophy as the NHL’s top goalie, to only one Canadian starter (Corey Crawford) left in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, to a really short list of no-brainer top candidates for next year’s 2014 Olympic team, the steady decline in the number of Canadian goalies playing in the NHL has finally trickled down to a state of near panic at the lower levels.

Team Canada’s starting goalie for the 2014 Olympics in Russia will be a matter of much debate. Carey Price, Roberto Luongo, Corey Crawford, Cam Ward, Mike Smith, Braden Holtby, and Marc-Andre Fleury are among the candidates. But not one of them is likely to receive a unanimous vote of confidence from anxious Canadian hockey fans.

Meanwhile, the three Vezina Trophy finalists for 2013 were all non-Canadians: Antti Niemi (Finland), Henrik Lundqvist (Sweden), and Sergei Bobrovsky (Russia).

Then there’s American Jonathan Quick, the defending Conn Smythe Trophy winner who’s been brilliant again in the 2013 playoffs.

Also, Tuukka Rask, Boston’s Finnish star.

Oh, and Jimmy Howard, the American who was so good for the Red Wings.

Throw in Cory Schneider (USA) and Pekka Rinne (Finland), and you can see why Hockey Canada is concerned.