The CHL’s New Goalie Rule: Potential Advantages for Other Leagues?

CHL New Goalie Rule

Spencer Martin (Terry Wilson/OHL Images)

Yesterday, I was listening to XM Radio’s Hockey Unfiltered from the NHL Network. Justin Goldman of the Goalie Guild and Todd Lewis and they were talking about the CHL’s new Goalie rule – the decision to ban European born goalie starting in 2014.

Starting in July’s import draft, the CHL — considered the top development league in the world — will grandfather in a restriction on drafting goalies hailing from Europe and elsewhere.

The developments, which haven’t been confirmed by the CHL or any of its three member leagues, reveal European goalies will only be eligible in the first round of the 2013 import draft. In 2014, they will be excluded altogether.

It should be noted that Americans are not considered imports in the CHL, so they will be exempt from the new rules. [London Free Press]

One of the first things that I thought about was; how is this going to affect Division I college hockey in the US?

Do we really want to go there? Yes we do, but I am thinking of going another route this time.

Historically, the CHL is already taking some of the best American hockey players, to include some of the top American goaltenders. Why not? The CHL is a great developmental amateur hockey league.

Some would say that the CHL is “the best” developmental amateur hockey league in the world, when it comes to developing NHL bound hockey players. Some NCAA fans will argue against this point.  This is not the point of this blog post.  Both routes have their strong points. Personally, I am fan of both leagues.

This discussion is about the Canadian Hockey League deciding it no longer wants to develop and or draft European born goalies. For whatever reason, Hockey Canada has decided that there are not enough Canadian born goalies currently playing in the Canadian Hockey League and are now moving forward to ban European born goalies.

Outright, this policy seems almost xenophobic, if not short sighted, since CHL teams are limited to only two European players per team.

So, if there is a shortage of Canadian goalies in the CHL, making European born goalies unwelcome in the Canadian Hockey League. Wouldn’t you also want to limit or ban goalies born in the United States of American as well?  It would seem logical to me.

But I digress.

Moving forward, the CHL’s ban on the European goalies,  “could” send a few more American born goalies, that would have gone the NCAA route, north instead, to fill the void left by the European goalies, but the affect will probably be minimal.

Will the New Goalie Drafting Rule Help the NCAA?

So, with the CHL deciding that it’s going to ban the European born goalies, should the NCAA teams try to recruit more of these European born goalies?  I emailed Nate Ewell the Deputy Executive Director of College Hockey Inc. and asked him if the CHL’s policy could increase the number of European born goalies in the NCAA.

According to Nate Ewell of College Hockey Inc., “there were only seven European born goalies in men’s Division I this past year.  Ewell continued.  “We [College Hockey Inc.] have promoted college hockey in general to Europeans in the past. It’s not a big part of our efforts but we regularly speak with teams from Europe that visit the States and we have worked with a group in Sweden called College Hockey Sweden. I don’t think this will lead us to do any more for goalies but it certainly could lead to more goalies considering college.”

I guess only time will tell if the CHL’s European goalie policy will have a positive or negative effect on the NCAA.

Eric Burton
Eric is a 1996, 1999 graduate of the University of North Dakota and has been a hockey fan for three plus decades. Eric covers the University of North Dakota Hockey for Inside Hockey and is the editor of the popular fan blog Goon’s World. Eric started writing for the Hockey Writers Combine in September of 2012 and is the lead writer for College Hockey.
Eric Burton

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