In North America, they are considering blocking the way for Russia and Belarus to NHL hockey. Player agent Dan Milstein defends himself.
The sporting sanctions resulting from Russia’s war in Ukraine have so far only affected the national team and organizers. Russia will not host the 2023 World Junior Championships and, along with Belarus, will not play in any event under the auspices of world hockey until further notice.
Now perhaps the sanctions will affect some individuals. The CHL, which brings together the major overseas junior leagues OHL, WHL and QMJHL, is considering eliminating Russia and Belarus from the next draft.
He had already taken one step. In early March, he canceled this year’s series of matches between Canadian and Russian talents. It was supposed to be the first year after the traditional series didn’t take place in 2020 and 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Now the game is to remove Russia and Belarus from the draft. It takes place at the turn of June and July, and each CHL club can select up to two junior hockey players from countries outside North America.
And Milstein, a Ukrainian native with an American passport and the agent of hockey stars like Nikita Kucherov or Andrei Vasilevsky, opposed the controversial proposal, which would affect certain players.
“I don’t think exposing teens to stop signs for something they don’t influence is the right solution,” he said.
According to him, the opposite belief applies at the CHL headquarters. “Of the seven clubs (out of a total of 60, editor’s note) I have confirmed that the CHL is oppressive and encouraged them to vote to remove Russia and Belarus from the upcoming draft. The club’s owners and general manager shook their heads privately and expressed their support during phone calls, but they were afraid to speak in public. Seventeen year olds should not be punished based on their place of birth.”
He just officially told CHL that he would decide on the shape of the next draft.
In the “auction” past, Russia was usually the most sought-after item. For example, in 2021, 16 of them passed the CHL draft, the Czechs are second with 14 hockey players and Belarus is third with 11 players.
Russia and Belarus who are currently playing in the CHL don’t want to say much about the upcoming sanctions, although it won’t affect them.
“I concentrate on myself. I don’t care. I try to do my best. I’m here for hockey.” he stated Belarus goalkeeper Ivan Zigalov, who replaces Sherbrooke.
Russia defender Pavel Mintjukov of Saginaw declined to comment on the situation at all.
His compatriot Maxim Barbashov, a Moncton striker and younger brother of NHL star Ivan Barbashov, has a partial understanding of the possible elimination of Russia and Belarus. “Everyone has the opportunity to get through the NHL draft. Whether you’re playing in Russia or Canada, the scouts will be watching you,” he added.
In addition to European leagues and American universities, the CHL is one of the main stocks of the NHL, or tens of percent of players are recruited from these juniors each year. From the Czechs, it was lucky for Jakub Voráček, Filip Zadin, Pavel Zach and many others.
In general, some Czechs and other Europeans flock to the CHL to better see the NHL draft, or they think it will help them in their development more than domestic competitions. NHL clubs love it when Europeans in North American juniors get used to a different style of hockey and learn a foreign language.
If the CHL really did cut Russia and Belarus, it wouldn’t be an unprecedented move. In 2014, it banned clubs from designing European goalkeepers to assist them in Canada. However, the desired effect did not appear, so the experiment ended after three years.
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