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CHL will phase out European goalies

Jun 11, 2013, 11:45 AM EDT

Ondrej Pavelec AP

In just a few years, there might not be a single European goaltender in the Canadian Hockey League.

That’s because of a new CHL initiative that will impact Canada’s the three major junior leagues (WHL, OHL, QMJHL). If a team wants to select a goaltender in the 2013 CHL import draft, they’ll only be able to do so in the first round.

After that, they won’t be able to get a netminder through the import draft under any circumstances, according to the Toronto Star’s Damien Cox.

These measures reflect a fear that Canadian goaltending has been on the decline. As Cox explains:

All three finalists for the NHL’s Vezina Trophy this season are Europeans, while a Canadian hasn’t been the first goalie selected in the NHL draft in five years. Of the four Memorial Cup finalists, only Halifax, the eventual champion, started a Canadian goalie, and Russia’s Andrei Makarov of the Saskatoon Blades was the tournament’s outstanding goalie.

The top goalie in the CHL this season, meanwhile, was from the Czech Republic.

It’s worth noting that none of the three European-born Vezina finalists played in the CHL.

Meanwhile, who will play between the pipes in the 2014 Winter Olympics will be the subject of heavy debate in Canada. With Martin Brodeur getting older and Roberto Luongo losing the starting gig in Vancouver, there’s no clear-cut choice.

At the same time, 28-year-old Corey Crawford has certainly thrown himself into the mix along with 23-year-old Braden Holtby. Then there’s James Reimer, who bounced back nicely from his sophomore slump.

Team Canada GM Steve Yzerman suggested that Canadian goaltending was in a transitional period and maybe that’s part of it. At the same time, he didn’t seem entirely opposed to the policy that the CHL later enacted.

“The bottom line is goalies need to play,” Yzerman told the Toronto Star in May. “They need minutes. There are only so many nets.”


Report: CHL considering ban on European goalies

  1. asteinberg77 - Jun 11, 2013 at 11:50 AM

    How did you forget about Carry Price as the next ‘Guy’ in Canada. Seriously, guys?

    • 1943mrmojorisin1971 - Jun 11, 2013 at 12:25 PM

      Really, Price had a bad month or so at the end of this season but has always posted good numbers. When he’s on his game he’s unbeatable. Think of what he could do with all the best Canadian players in front of him.

      • barkar942 - Jun 11, 2013 at 12:49 PM

        All you have to do is put goggles on Price that make him think the opposition is always the Rangers. He will throw nothing but shutouts!

  2. shortsxit34 - Jun 11, 2013 at 11:59 AM

    So they’re saying that Canadian goalies aren’t good enough to make CHL clubs, so they have to ban the competition to get them spots.

  3. mrpinkca - Jun 11, 2013 at 12:03 PM

    Brilliant! Nothing develops players better than sheltering them from the best of their peers!

    • 19to77 - Jun 11, 2013 at 1:04 PM

      Worst part about this is realizing that it will negatively impact Canadian forwards’ development too. They’ll be shooting on Canadian netminders, trained in an apparently inferior system of goaltending, and the first they’ll see of the elite goalies being trained elsewhere will be in the AHL or NHL. Great time to adjust on the fly, right? This might actually result in fewer Canadian forwards able to crack NHL rosters.

  4. geo91 - Jun 11, 2013 at 12:16 PM

    It’s really a no brainer that Carey Price will be between the pipes for Canada, his backups is where it gets tricky. Cam Ward? Fleury if he recovers his game? Luango?

    • 1943mrmojorisin1971 - Jun 11, 2013 at 12:27 PM

      Ward if he’s healthy.

  5. spochiefsfan - Jun 11, 2013 at 12:17 PM

    This is ridiculous. Sorry your minders have been lackluster Canada. Doesn’t mean you have to take away spots from more qualified imports.
    What happens when these handfuls of prospects play pro on their respective countries then don’t want to come play in the NHL? We’ve already seen a rise in players wanting to stay (Ovie, Syuk etc). I feel like this will only perpetuate players feeling the same.

  6. redgreentape - Jun 11, 2013 at 12:24 PM

    This should make Don Cherry happy. Canada’s number one bigot.

  7. 19to77 - Jun 11, 2013 at 12:53 PM

    The solution is to send scouts to the places producing these guys and analyze their programs to figure out what’s working so well for them. Instead they just ban Europeans from an inferior Canadian training program and run more Canadians through it in hope of success through greater numbers. The system’s the problem, guys – not the people going through it. The best goalies AREN’T being trained here, European or otherwise – so go where they ARE being trained and take some f*cking notes.

    • pastabelly - Jun 11, 2013 at 1:27 PM

      You can right down the list from Lundqvist to Quick to Rask to Howard, to Miller. The Scandinavian countries are doing a great job developing goalies. Maybe Canadians should send their kids to Sweden, Finland, or even to US colleges to develop.

      • clefty1 - Jun 12, 2013 at 10:09 AM

        Quick (UMass Amherst), Howard (Maine) and Miller (Michigan State) are Americans that played college hockey.

    • valoisjoeybfeld69 - Jun 11, 2013 at 3:17 PM

      Well! It’s pretty obvious what they’re doing…. Nothing that wasn’t done before back in the late 80s with Patrick Roy/Francois Allaire. These guys redefined how the position is played. Modern day Jacques Plante. The Canadians just need to get back to that, but I’m not sure banning EU goalies is the way to go. I sure would like to hear how they made that decision.

  8. tackledummy1505 - Jun 11, 2013 at 1:54 PM

    Sounds like the Canadians are scared of losing their dominance in a sport they invented lol what a bunch of pusses

  9. sunk500 - Jun 11, 2013 at 2:27 PM

    This is the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard, so leave it to the Canadians to implement something like this. It’s hilarious to read the Canadian comments across all the news site praising the idea with comments like “It’s the CHL, it should only be for Canadians”.

    Making sense often seems clouded by Canadian “pride”.

  10. pmonte3122 - Jun 11, 2013 at 2:28 PM

    Makarov… What a 7th round pick for buffalo.

  11. valoisjoeybfeld69 - Jun 11, 2013 at 2:31 PM

    Twenty years ago the dominant goalie in the NHL was Patrick Roy, who was the first goalie trained and developed by Francois Allaire based on his research and development. He literally invented how goalies play the game today. Sure there were butterfly goalies before then (Roger Crozier/Tony Esposito), but none mastered the position the way Allaire thought it to Roy and others. Matter of fact, he gave his first goalie clinic in Switzerland in the mid 90s, which at that time had zero Swiss #1 goalies playing in the Swiss national league. The #1 goalies were all imports. Years later many Swiss goalies reached the NHL; Martin Gerber, David Aebischer and more recently, Jonas Hiller, also Cristobal Huet. Hasek’s success lead to others from his home country followed by the influx of goalies from Sweden; Henrik Lundqvist, Rangers, Anders Lindback, Lightning, and Jonas Gustavsson, Red Wings. And there’s Finland with Pekka Rinne, Niklas Backstrom, Miikka Kiprusoff, Antti Niemi, Kari Lehtonen and Tuukka Rask. Many young goalies actually play in North America to improve their game; Jaroslav Halak, Blues and Ondrej Pavelec,Jets in the QJMHL, Michal Neuvirth, Capitals, played in the WHL.

    Francois Allaire is a Canadian who played a very big role with respect to the influx of European goalies in the NHL. In 1993 there were 2 European goalies. Today there are 15. I’m not condoning the CHL for their decision, but I hope hockey Canada in conjunction with the CHL developed a plan to continue Allaire’s work in minor hockey, and I expect every country to do the same. My comment is directed at some uneducated commenters who make ludicrous comments about Canada being afraid of loosing their dominance.

    The combination of Patrick Roy/Francois Allaire helped develop many goalies in Canada as well. Fleury, Luongo, Fiset, Potvin, Thobault…

    • valoisjoeybfeld69 - Jun 11, 2013 at 3:20 PM

      and Brodeur

  12. jpelle82 - Jun 11, 2013 at 2:50 PM

    seems like white on white crime and racist as hell to me. its like if little league baseball said no more middle infielders from central/south america or if a european soccer league banned midfielders from brazil. its selective, but still racist

    • jpelle82 - Jun 11, 2013 at 2:51 PM

      to build on that….are they going to ban european forwards too, i mean, its gotta be fair all around right?

  13. eaglesbest - Jun 11, 2013 at 4:08 PM

    As a Canadian I have to disagree with this. If European goalies are superior to Canadian goalies then why should they not been given the opportunity to show case their talent on a bigger stage then they would have in Europe.

  14. eaglesbest - Jun 11, 2013 at 4:09 PM

    As for Canadian goalies is everyone forgetting about Mike Smith from Phoenix

    • 19to77 - Jun 11, 2013 at 4:51 PM

      No-one’s forgotten the Dave Tippett Effect making average goalies look great. We’re all just hesitant to massively overrate him like Philadelphia did with Spaceman Bryzgalov. Remember when people thought Breezy was top-5 in the NHL? Remember when Mike Smith was a backup? Fun story – they were both only two years ago.

  15. 89seminole - Jun 11, 2013 at 4:58 PM

    Were Obama, Reid, Holder, the IRS, and/or Pelosi involved in this decision?

    • valoisjoeybfeld69 - Jun 11, 2013 at 5:34 PM

      Nah! More likely Bush and Cheney.

  16. kicksave1980 - Jun 11, 2013 at 6:45 PM

    I’ve said some of this before on goalie-specific posts here, but it really holds true now that the CHL is implementing this Euro-ban. It isn’t a question of the talent in Canada. There are, and have always been, talented goalies in Canada/USA. That hasn’t changed. The problem is that what used to be known as the “Quebec School”, or the “Allaire school” on goaltending has swept the nation. Yes, it was (and still can be) an effective tool for a goalie, but the vast majority of North American goalie coaches are using the Allaire system as a one-size fits all approach, and that is a terrible idea. People always fall back on guys like Roy as the poster-boy for the Quebec/Allaire style, and don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to be negative towards Roy or any other Allaire style goalie, but not every goalie is Patrick Roy. Brodeur uses SOME of the Allaire style (as mentioned in an above comment), but he uses it as another tool in the arsenal. He also stacks the pads and makes athletic saves that go completely against everything the Allaire/Quebec style teaches. The best goalies take tips and methods from every source and form them to their ability, not subscribe to a single source of knowledge. Everyone is different and there’s no “right” style to play, and no “wrong” way to stop the puck.

    Of course there are kids who don’t use this style, but when coaches see them, the words that come out of their mouths are “uncontrolled”, and “not technically sound” because they don’t fit the “ideal style” to a T. That’s a problem. I see goalies all day every day, and by the time they’re 18, they all look the same. Same movements, same tendencies, etc.

    The reason Euro goalies have had so much success, in my opinion, is because rather than teaching a singular “correct way to do it”, they preach athleticism and mold that around individual strengths.

  17. therolandobottom - Jun 11, 2013 at 7:03 PM

    Goaltending evolves. And most of the best camps right now are in the u s of a. Also, don’t forget most American goalies play in NCAA and many Canadian forwards do the same. Competition and coaching is just better there than the CHL. Not sure how European goalies are so damn good, but Canada’s goalies will get their act together again.

  18. mildfan - Jun 11, 2013 at 7:05 PM

    This is a joke Canada!!! Maybe you should change the way you develop goalies instead of punishing the kid who has a dream to play North America and eventually the NHL. This is a chicken sh@$ way to attempt to develop your goalies. If the QMJHL was high scoring before it will even be higher scoring now. This will also effect your top forwards as it will be no problem to score on the weak Canadian goaltenders!

  19. pavelfitzgerald - Jun 11, 2013 at 7:27 PM

    It’s all cyclical. Canada couldn’t have the best goalies forever. This was a natural development with the global development of the game (see: Golf)

  20. joeyg88 - Jun 11, 2013 at 10:40 PM

    It’s all about tretiak

  21. tlndma - Jun 12, 2013 at 6:44 AM

    How many European goalies actually play in the Can. Jrs. ? Are they pushing aside the top wrung of Can. goalies or the bottom prospects. This step will not improve Canada’s goalies. Maybe it’ll stifle some Euro. developement, won’t that be good for the sport?

    Cam Ward is a helluva goalie. Carolina fell off the map, when he got hurt this season.

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