Since the situation developed involving the Portland Winterhawks and Swiss forward Alessio Bertaggia, I have received some emails wondering about the rules regarding imports and how it might apply to a team in planning for a new season.
So I will try to explain . . .
Each team in the CHL is allowed to have two import players on its roster; each of those players has to have been selected in the CHL’s import draft.
Going into the CHL’s 2010 import draft, the Winterhawks had two import players on their roster — D Luca Sbisa, 20, and F Nino Niederreiter, 18, both of whom are from Switzerland.
Under the rules, the Winterhawks were allowed to slide Sbisa onto their 20-year-old list, meaning he wouldn’t count as a roster player unless, or until, he returned to the team as an active player. (Sbisa remains on their 20-year-old list and only will count against the import quota in the unlikely event that he returns from the NHL’s Anaheim Ducks.)
Putting Sbisa on the 20-year-old list meant the Winterhawks were down to one import player, that being Niederreiter. Therefore, they were allowed to make one selection.
The Winterhawks had acquired Sbisa in a swap with the Lethbridge Hurricanes. In that deal, the teams also swapped first-round import picks. Portland used that selection, seventh overall, to take Swiss F Sven Bartschi.
That left the Winterhawks with Sbisa on the 20-year-old list and Niederreiter and Bartschi as their two import roster players.
So . . . now you’re thinking, yes, but what if Niederreiter, who was taken fifth overall by the New York Islanders in the NHL’s 2010 draft, doesn’t return?
It doesn’t matter. Call it the breaks of the game.
Of course, the Winterhawks could drop Niederreiter and try to trade for another import player, which is something that could happen at some point down the road depending on how things unfold.
Coincidentally, the Everett Silvertips are in the same boat.
The Silvertips finished last season with Czech D Radko Gudas and Finnish D Rasmus Rissanen as their import players.
Gudas now is a 20-year-old, so is on Everett’s 20-year-old list. The Silvertips selected Finnish F Jesse Huhtala in the 2010 CHL import draft, so have him and Rissanen on their roster.
Should Gudas, who has signed an NHL contract, be sent back from the camp of the Tampa Bay Lightning, the Silvertips would have to move one of the three import players — via trade or release — in order to get down to two.
In Prince Albert, meanwhile, the Raiders have Belarussian F Igor Revenko, 20, and are planning on keeping on their roster. He is what is known as a two-spotter — he counts as a 20-year-old and as an import.
Also on their roster is F Sebastian Svendsen, 19, who is from Denmark. He actually was drafted by the Vancouver Giants and later was dealt to the Edmonton Oil Kings who, in turn, traded him to Prince Albert.
The Raiders didn’t make a selection in the 2010 import draft. Instead, they dealt the 16th overall pick to the Tri-City Americans for a 2011 fourth-round bantam draft pick.
And so it goes . . .
Now for other business . . .
Garry VanHereweghe has stepped down as general manager and head coach of the AJHL’s Okotoks Oilers. He rejoined the club a year ago after also filling that role from 2005-07.
In a news released, Oilers president Wayne Lauinger stated: “. . . we anticipated another successful season with Garry at the helm, but a difference in the coach’s philosophy and the players’ expectations and beliefs became an issue of concern between the coach and the players. Garry’s decision was made out of respect for the players and the Oilers organization.”
Chris Fuss, the associate coach, now is acting as interim head coach, with help from assistant coaches Lyle Seitz and Rocky Zinger.
You mave have seen an anonymous comment here one night last week in which Mr. Anonymous claimed to have heard that the AJHL’s Calgary Mustangs had lost their head coach.
Well . . . it turned out to be accurate.
Jeff Peters resigned as GM and head coach on Friday, citing personal reasons.
Bill Keefe of the New England Hockey Journal has a comprehensive look at the major junior, NCAA, recruiting and education thing. It’s really a good read and it's right here.
Might this be the training camp in which former Seattle Thunderbirds D Thomas Hickey earns a spot on the roster of the NHL’s Los Angeles Kings? Helene Elliott of the Los Angeles Times has that story right here.