There's been controversy about goaltending in the CHL for quite a while – namely, why can't Canada crank out top goaltending prospects a la NCAA hockey? In the midst of the Ontario Hockey League holding a workshop to figure out what to do about the issue at the junior level, the Canadian Hockey League thinks that they've found a fix to the problem:
Major move by @chlhockey Import goalies only eligible in 1st round of next months draft.Goalies will be excluded from the 14 import draft.
— Daren Millard (@darenmillard) June 11, 2013
No more European goaltenders. The way that the CHL sees it, if the European players aren't hogging ice time, that gives Canadian goaltenders more of a chance to play, which develops their skill sets, which leads to more elite goaltending. Makes sense!
Except that it doesn't. While playing and practice do make perfect, the reason that a European goaltender is getting starts is that they're better than the competition. Therefore, that should serve as motivation for said competition (Canadian goaltenders) to improve so they get the starts. Removing European goaltenders removes a motivation to do better, thereby continuing the status quo of "good but not great" goaltending.
Chris Peters of The United States of Hockey (and CBS Sports) has an outstanding piece on why the CHL's decision would be a bad one. He wrote it a while back when the issue was just getting fired up, but it's obviously still appropriate.
The issue with the goalies appears to be part of a bigger problem. Hockey Canada recently fired its chief scout and goaltending coach.“Those are not easy things to do, but we have to do it,” Hockey Canada president Bob Nicholson explained to TSN regarding the dismissal of Kevin Prendergast and Ron Tugnutt. “We’re not panicking, but we do have the red light on saying, ‘hey, we have to get better.’”