Flint, Mich. – The Flint Firebirds Hockey Club will participate in the 25th annual CHL Import Draft this Tuesday, Jun. 28 at 11 a.m. (ET).
The Ontario Hockey League (OHL), known as the premiere player development league for the NHL, is one of three major junior ice hockey leagues based in Canada and the United States that constitute the Canadian Hockey League (CHL). Each year, every team in the CHL has the option to choose up to two players from outside North America to add to its roster. Picks are chosen in reverse order of the team’s standings in the CHL. The import draft is seen as a way to raise the level of competition in the CHL, as well as to broaden its fan base while retaining high North American content.
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The two-round draft takes place online with the order of selection rotating through each of the CHL’s three leagues using an inverse order of final regular season standings within each league from the previous season. CHL teams are allowed to keep two Import players on the roster. If the club expects to keep these two players for the upcoming season, they can pass in the Import Draft.
Last summer, the Firebirds selected Vili Saarijarvi and Matyas Kantner in the 24th annual CHL Import Draft. A total of 78 players were selected from 14 different countries led by 21 players from Russia and consisting of 50 forwards and 28 defensemen.
With the departure of Saarijärvi and the club’s decision to delete Kantner as of today’s ‘Import Cut Down,’ the Firebirds are expected to be active in Tuesday’s CHL Import Draft. Flint has the eighth overall pick in the first round and has the ability to select in the second round if necessary.
Stay tuned to FlintFirebirds.com for live coverage of the 2016 CHL Import Draft Tuesday.
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