OHL teams in Hamilton, Mississauga, Oshawa and St. Catharines cannot draft Russian, Belarusian players
Published April 27, 2022 at 5:26 pm
Canadian Hockey League teams, including the OHL franchises in Hamilton, Mississauga, Oshawa and St. Catharines, will not select Russian and Belarusian players at its next import draft.
The umbrella organization for the country’s three major junior hockey leagues — the Ontario, Quebec and Western leagues — made the announcement Wednesday.
The move was considered likely after the CHL condemned, in a March 2 statement, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine with the support of Belarus.
The ban does not include players currently on a CHL protected list. Wednesday’s decision is the latest sanction against Russia and Belarus by the international hockey community.
Russian and Belarusian teams have been banned by the International Ice Hockey Federation from its events at all levels until further notice because of the ongoing war in Ukraine. The sport’s governing body also removed Russia as host of two major events in 2023 — the world junior championship and world men’s championship.
Each team in the OHL, along with the Quebec and Western leagues, can dress two import players from outside of Canada and the United States a game. They can have one more on a protected list.
The Hamilton Bulldogs, Mississauga Steelheads, St. Catharines-based Niagara IceDogs and Oshawa Generals’ roster picture for next season will likely involve making an import pick. All four teams have a 19-year-old European who is an NHL draft pick and in line to move up to minor pro next season.
- The Bulldogs have one Russian import, 18-year-old defenceman Artem Grushnikov, who is a second-round draft choice of the NHL’s Dalla Stars. Nineteen–year-old Jan Mysak, who is from Czechia, is likely to turn pro in the Montreal Canadiens system next season. The Canadiens drafted Mysak in 2020.
- The Steelheads’ imports are both 19-year-old Scandinavian defencemen, Ole Bjorgvik-Holm of Oslo, Norway and Kasper Larsen of Rodovre, Denmark. Bjorgvik-Holm has been drafted by the Columbus Blue Jackets,
- The IceDogs’ older import player this season was 19-year-old San Jose Sharks draftee Danil Gushchin, whose climb to the pros would open a roster spot on the St. Catharines-based club. The IceDogs’ other European was Dominican-Swiss defenceman Rodwin Dionicio, who will be an 18-year-old next eason.
- The Generals will likely also likely have a vacancy for next season, since 19-year-old Swede Oskar Olausson is a first-round choice of the Colorado Avalanche. Eighteen-year-old Belarusian defenceman Nikita Parfenyuk was in and out of the lineup in the regular season, but has returned to appear in the first three games of the Generals’ ongoing playoff series against the Kingston Frontenacs.
A total of 85 players were selected at the most recent import draft last June, including a high of 16 from Russia and 11 from Belarus.
The 2022 import draft will be held July 1.
The last restriction that the CHL placed on the import draft was a moratorium on selecting goaltenders that lasted from 2014 to ’18. Goalies who were in the league before the ban remained eligible to play.
— with files from The Canadian Pressinsauga's Editorial Standards and Policies advertising