“Although we have been fortunate in the past with the CHL import draft,” Chynoweth reasoned in a news release, “we feel that in this day and age it is becoming very hard to attract the top European players.
“Our team is eligible to return 19 players and there is no guarantee if we selected a player (in the 2010 draft) that he would be able to play in our top six forwards or top four defencemen.”
Chynoweth took heat at the time, with some people saying that he owed it to the fans to ice the best possible product and pointing out that the best teams almost always include an import or two on their rosters.
Well, the Ice has won the Eastern Conference playoff championship and the roster that has made it this far has neither a European nor an American influence.
Of the WHL’s 22 teams, only the Ice and the Tri-City Americans don’t include even one import on their roster. (The Americans did use 20-year-old G Alexander Pechurskiy, a Russian, in three early-season games.)
The Ice would have had the 43rd selection in the 2010 import draft, but it dealt the selection to the Brandon Wheat Kings, who used it on Danish F Mark Mieritz.
You may recall that last season the Ice did use two Czechs — F Dominik Pacovsky and D Petr Senkerik. Pacovsky was 19 and didn’t come back as a two-spotter. Senkerik didn’t finish last season with the Ice, as he was dealt to the Prince George Cougars.
The Ice will open the best-of-seven WHL championship final on Friday in Portland against the Winterhawks.
Portland’s roster includes two high-flying Swiss forwards in sophomore Nino Niederreiter, who has a team-high 23 points in 16 games, and freshman Sven Bartschi, with 21 points in 16 outings.
Gee, I wonder which team will have Don Cherry’s support?
MONDAY’S CHECKING-FROM-BEHIND COUNT:
Dave Trimmer of the Spokane Spokesman-Review was at last night’s game. His game story is right here.
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