Maybe major junior hockey only needs one import player per team.
The Canadian Hockey League may consider reducing the number of import players per team from two to one, said league commissioner David Branch at the closing press conference of the Molson Canadian World Hockey Summit.
Each major junior team – WHL, OHL and QMJHL – selects two players from non-North American countries and then they have to bust their asses to get those players over here.
And Branch earlier this week heard sharp criticism from those non-North American countries, who are holding the CHL import draft responsible for the destruction of their junior development systems.
“We heard some passionate comments,” Branch said. “They were great comments and they were concerning comments. We have to look at it from the importance of growing the game and the importance of the health of the game.”
There was a time when the CHL had huge issues in attracting the best, young players to their teams, Branch said. But the organization which serves as an umbrella for the three regional leagues made a commitment to better facilities, better coaching and a recognized scholarship program.
Let’s not kid ourselves here, folks. The CHL offers the best route to the NHL for an aspiring pro hockey player. Young men of any country should want to play in this forum for its similarity to the NHL — from its schedule to its culture and its rules — simply to prepare themselves for achieving their dream of playing pro hockey.
But for Branch, he’s committed to the growth of the game, not just at home but also globally.
“We can’t overlook the need to do what’s best for the game and we will address this area with serious discussion,” he said.