Russian and Belarussian hockey players will be banned from the Major Junior (CHL) import player draft that takes place annually in July.
In a brief statement the CHL stated the following;
The Canadian Hockey League announced today that Russian and Belarusian players will be ineligible for selection in the 2022 CHL Import Draft to be held Friday, July 1. This does not include those players who are currently on a CHL team protected list.
The Canadian Hockey League remains committed to the safety, well-being, and the development of all of its players regardless of their country of origin.
For those of you who don’t understand the impact of this, you need to look at the big picture.
Not only will Russian and Belarussian players be banned from the import player draft, but scouting of these players in Russia and Belarus will be next to zero for as long as the war in Ukraine goes on.
Visa’s to visit Russia, for American and Canadian scouts are almost non existent since the Ukraine war began, and with the closure of airspace, just getting to Russia or Belarus is nearly impossible without incredible time and expense.
Last year, a total of 85 players were selected at the import draft, including a high of 16 from Russia and 11 from Belarus.
Russian and Belarusian teams have been banned by the International Ice Hockey Federation from its events at all levels until further notice because of the ongoing war in Ukraine. The sport’s governing body also removed Russia as host of two major events in 2023 — the world junior championship and world men’s championship.
While some bleeding heart protesters complain about discrimination, players from Sweden, Finland, and all of Europe are excited about new opportunities. Draft picks will be used now on players who otherwise would have been passed over. Adversity for one group creates opportunity for another.
This announcement could have an effect on NHL teams. With Russian and Belarusian players no longer able to come to the CHL, they will pose a much bigger risk at the NHL Draft, given their uncertain futures. Many of them will have to find other places to play, and many will likely not be taken in the NHL drafts later rounds because of the additional risk.
Creating fewer Russian and Belarussian NHL and European league millionaires will have some effect on the United States Dollars being transferred to Russian banks. Less money gives more people the incentive to stand up to Putin and this war in Ukraine.
So, once again the Russian President by ill conceived actions hurts his own people even more. Poetic justice if you are a player from Ukraine.
I wonder just how many Ukraine players will be drafted now, if for no other reason than to send a message?