The CHL board of directors announced last spring (in partnership with Hockey Canada) that they would soon be banning European goaltenders from playing Canadian Major Junior hockey, as if this is somehow going to help Canada produce more elite goaltenders for international competition. According to CHL President David Branch "In Partnership with Hockey Canada, the CHL has identified the need to further develop Canadian goaltenders by providing increased opportunities for them to compete in our league and succeed at the next level."
That's right, those pesky European goaltenders are stealing Canadian jobs, and this is why there has been a noticeable decline in top level Canadian goaltending in international competition. At least that's what the suits at the CHL and Hockey Canada seem to think. Currently European goaltenders can only legally come to the CHL if they are drafted in the 2 round annual import draft. In the 2012/13 season 180 goalies played over 250,000 minutes in the OHL, WHL, and QMJHL. How many of those minutes were played by Canadian goalies? 78%, which is an overwhelming majority. Europeans accounted for just 14% of those minutes, and Americans accounted for 8% of those minutes.
This ruling is an over-reaction to Canada not winning a World Junior Championship since 2009. Nearly 80% of the total workload is already going to Canadian goaltenders. All the best young goaltenders coming up from minor hockey get opportunities in the CHL. There are more than enough opportunities for the best of the best, this ruling will only give the few guys at the low end of the curve a better chance of playing, players who are unlikely ever to play for Team Canada.
As Justin Goldman said "If there are eight or nine goaltenders in Canada that don't have the skill or the will or the potential to beat out a European goaltender, honestly that's their own fault."
Perhaps it is possible that these 8-10 jobs that will go to North American goaltenders will produce an extra future NHLer every few years, but it is very unlikely ever to have a significant impact at the international and professional level. I just think Hockey Canada is looking in the wrong direction for answers to declining Canadian goaltending. Look at ways to promote and develop young goaltenders at the minor hockey level instead of banning the best Europeans from playing in the world's best junior league.