Rule changes for Czech Extraliga intended to keep top prospects from leaving

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The 2013 NHL Entry Draft was no shining moment for Czech hockey.

In all, just four players who were born in the Czech Republic were selected — not one of them in the first three rounds.

In addition, all four draftees played their junior hockey in the CHL, as opposed to the Czech Extraliga, the highest league in the country.

In response, the Czech Ice Hockey Association, along with all 14 Extraliga teams, have announced some significant rule changes for the 2013-14 season that are intended to keep young players from leaving for other leagues.

From the IIHF:

The new regulations will be as follows and are applicable to any team participating in the Extraliga:

  • A maximum of 15 players born 1990 or earlier are allowed in a game for each team.
  • A team should have at least 3 players born between 1991 and 1993 on the game roster.
  • A team should have at least 1 player born 1994 or later on the game roster.
  • Both goaltenders are exempt from any of the rules above.

In addition to above rules, the teams will receive six import licences that they can use throughout the whole season. As soon as any non-Czech player has been registered on the line-up, one of the licences will be consumed, regardless of the fact whether the player will hit the ice or not.

According to Szymon Szemberg of the IIHF, it’s hoped above all that the new regulations will stem the flow of top Czech prospects to the CHL.

The Czech Republic won Olympic gold in 1998; however, the country has managed just one Olympic bronze — in 2006 — since then.

In 2010, the Czechs finished seventh, losing to Finland, 2-0, in the quarterfinals.