October 26, ZURICH, Switzerland: The International Ice Hockey Federation has completed a study based on research of European trained players signed by National Hockey League clubs or their affiliated clubs and of European juniors recruited by the Canadian Hockey League (major junior clubs).
A summary of the study was presented to the IIHF Member Federations at the IIHF Semi-Annual Congress in Athens on September 28 and the full study, as well as its summary, was provided to the federations on October 10.The primary conclusions of the study are:
++ Too many Europeans who are not of NHL-calibre are signed by NHL-clubs.
++ Too many Europeans who are potentially of NHL-calibre but not yet NHL-ready, are signed prematurely.
++ The average quality of European-trained NHL players remaining in their European clubs until they are NHL-ready is vastly superior to the quality of Europeans spending significant time in the minor leagues or who go through the major junior system.
++ The often repeated theory that a European player needs 'adjustment' and 'time to learn' the North American game is not supported in the data from the research.
++ The recruiting of European players under development is a threat to the quality of the top European leagues and to the European development system as the European clubs are not able to adequately replace the players. This is also a threat to the NHL as a decline of quality of the European leagues will put in danger further development of players of NHL-calibre.
"The findings of the study support our concern that too many players who are not NHL-ready leave the European leagues and never reach their potential," says IIHF President René Fasel. "This is detrimental both to the NHL and to the top European leagues. It is now the duty of the global hockey community to address this issue for the benefit of all leagues as well as international hockey."Click here
to read the study in its entirety
for a summary of the study