OHL could ban imports
The Ontario Hockey League might become the first junior league in Canada to close the door on drafting European prospects.
The league's board of governors is expected to table a motion this week to strike its participation in the June import draft of European players. Each of the 60 teams in the Canadian Hockey League, of which the OHL is a member, is allowed two European-drafted players.
Heck, Pavel Brendl, believe it or not, was a great, great player to watch in the early years. Oleg Saprykin, too.
If all three leagues banned imports, potentially eliminating 120 European players from the league, would that hurt the talent level? Undoubtedly. But I honestly don't believe it would have an affect on the box office draw.
For the sake of the Canadian development system, it makes sense to keep junior hockey as more of a homegrown circuit. The influx of U.S. born players from states like California may be where the next limitations come in this regard.
UPDATE The QMJHL is also contemplating making a similar change.