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  • Guest post: The CHL’s European goalie ban, from a legal perspective

    Russian Nikita Serebryakov could be one of the last goalies from overseas to play in the CHL (Terry Wilson, OHL Images)

    The Canadian Hockey League's decision, announced last week, that it would cease including goaltenders in its annual import draft beginning in 2014 raised many questions. One of which is whether it is technically legal to do so while forwards and defencemen from abroad are still fine and dandy. Fortunately, Fraser Mackinnon Blair (@fmblair) has taken a look into the matter.

    Please note: the contents of this article are not to be construed as legal advice. The author of this article is a recent graduate of law school, but is not a lawyer.

    Beginning in 2014, the Canadian Hockey League in conjunction with Hockey Canada will forbid its clubs from selecting European goaltenders in its annual two-round import draft. Clubs will still be permitted to draft European goaltenders in this year’s draft, but may only do so in the draft’s first round.

    The ban is being justified as an attempt to increase the calibre of Canadian goaltending by increasing the number of Canadian goalies minding the 60 CHL creases. However, according to Buzzing the Net's Cam Charron, only 11 of the 68 CHL goalies who qualified for the games played threshold were from Europe, so it’s hard to view this as a pandemic. The CHL has not altered its policy regarding the eligibility of American-born goaltenders.

    While we can debate whether the CHL’s decision will have any effect on the calibre of future Canadian goaltenders elsewhere, it is apparent that the decision raises issues relating to anti-competitive behaviour.

    Competition law in Canada is structured under the Competition Act, the purpose of which is to "maintain and encourage competition in Canada." In general commercial matters, it tries to accomplish this purpose by, amongst other things, prohibiting restrictive trade practices, exclusive dealing, price maintenance, bid rigging and other cartel-like behaviour.

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  • World junior championship: Finland’s Young Lions are aiming for gold

    GROUP A: FINLAND

    Last year’s finish: Fourth
    Last year’s round-robin record: 3-0-0-1

    Rejuvenated Team Finland travels to Ufa, Russia on a mission. The Finns aim to end their six-year medal drought and win the world junior championship title, which would be their first since 1998.

    Finland's Joel Armia

    Young Lions, as Team Finland's nickname goes, came up short in last year'

    s tournament in Calgary, Alta, where Finland lost a grueling semifinal thriller to Sweden in a shootout. In the bronze game, the Finns lost to host Canada.

    "We have a great group of guys and the whole team is confident that we can win against any team in Russia," said Buffalo's 2011 first-rounder (16th overall) and Ässät Pori winger Joel Armia.

    Finland has nine returnees from last year's encouraging

    campaign. Among that group is London Knights defenceman Olli Määttä.

    "I'm really looking forward the tournament. Our team seems very competitive and we have a good chance to be successful in Ufa," said Määttä, whose tournament ended last

    year

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  • Top prospect Barkov leads the Finnish pack

    Sami Hoffrén is a freelance sports journalist based in Finland.

    Finland's Aleksander Barkov/Getty Images

    By now Aleksander Barkov is getting used to all the hype around him. The autographs, interviews, and the attention from fans and media.

    It seems like everybody these days wants a piece of the next Finnish gem.

    The 17-year-old centre has been sensational in Finland's SM-liiga in his first full season. Playing with his hometown team Tappara Tampere, Barkov has 14 goals and 14 assists in 28 games, and is sixth-overall in points.

    Many scouts will admit that Barkov's impressive campaign has made him a potential contender as the first-overall selection at the 2013 NHL entry draft.

    "It's good for the rest of us (Finnish prospects) that Sasha (Barkov) draws all the attention," said Artturi Lehkonen, another likely Finnish first-rounder in the upcoming draft.

    In the upcoming draft Finland has, for the first time since the 2004 draft, three almost certain first round picks in Barkov, forward Lehkonen and defenceman Rasmus

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