Quest for Memorial Cup kicks off with CHL Import Draft

Quest for Memorial Cup kicks off with CHL Import Draft

30 Jun 2015Lucas Bradelj»

Today the 60 franchises of the Canadian Hockey League had the opportunity to draft their next international stars. Whereas the majority of players selected in the Import Draft were Russians, including first overall pick Vladimir Kuznetsov, also some prospects from more ‘exotic’ hockey nations caught the attention of the CHL scouts.


The CHL, the umbrella organization of the three Major Canadian Junior Leagues (OHL, WHL and QMJHL), annually holds the Import Draft to give its clubs a chance to strengthen their roster with players outside of North America. Each team is only allowed to feature only 2 import players on the game sheet, so it's obvious that competition is high.

The Acadie–Bathurst Titan (Quebec Major Junior Hockey League) had the first selection in the two-round-draft and chose Yekaterinburg-born forward Vladimir Kuznetsov. The Saskatoon Blades (Western Hockey League) followed and assured themselves the rights of Czech defenceman Libor Hàjek.

One selected player that all hockey fans can recall is Alexander Nylander, son of no less than Swedish legend Michael Nylander. The Mississauga Steelheads (Ontario Hockey League) selected him 12th overall and hope to see the youngest of the Nylander's in their uniform one day.

The first player to be selected from a smaller hockey nation was Austrian winger Mario Huber, who will fight for a roster spot on the Victoriaville Tigres. The 18-year old is considered one of Austria's top prospects and has already played in 79 pro games for his hometown club Innsbruck in Erste Bank Eishockey Liga. Huber would not remain the only Austrian player to be selected, as Christoph Kromp and Dario Winkler also can hope for a future in what might be the worlds most prestigious junior league.

Same also applies for 3 young Latvian and Danish men, but also Slovenia and Kazakhstan got its fair share of drafted players at the CHL Import Draft.

Noticeable is also the selection of 17 year old Dutch forward Bartek Bison by the Prince George Cougars. The member of Netherlands' U20 national team improved his hockey skill in the organazion of the ‘Adler Mannheim’ in Germany and now wants to try his luck overseas.

Amount of players drafted in this year’s CHL Import Draft, sorted by nation:

Russia   19 players
Czech Rep.   12 players
Finland   9 players
Sweden   9 players
Germany   5 players
Switzerland   5 players
Slovakia   4 players
Latvia   3 players
Denmark   3 players
Austria 3 players
Kazakhstan   2 players
Belarus   1 player
Ukraine   1 player
Slovenia   1 player
Netherlands   1 player

The full list of selected players can be seen here. Note that teams are not allowed to draft goalkeepers.

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Czech Rep.:  Tipsport extraliga | 1.liga | 2.liga

Finland:  Liiga | Mestis

Germany:  DEL | DEL2

Russia:  KHL | VHL

Slovakia:  Tipsport Extraliga | 1.liga

Sweden:  SHL | HockeyAllsvenskan

Switzerland:  NLA | NLB

Other:  EBEL | Belarus | Croatia | Denmark | Estonia | France | Great Britain | Iceland | Italy | Latvia | Lithuania | MOL-liga | Norway | Poland | Romania | Serbia | Slovenia | Spain | NHL | AHL |

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