There was quite the kerfuffle last month when the Sarnia Sting had the audacity to take the best player available by selecting Czech goal scorer Pavel Zacha first overall in the Canadian Hockey League import draft.
The 17-year-old forward's adviser, Allan Walsh, blasted the rebuilding OHL team for wasting its pick. Such bluster is nothing new and, seemingly more often than not, the junior team is enriched for calling the bluff. On Tuesday, Michal Sivek, one of Zacha's other handlers, tweeted the youngster is bound for Sarnia.
Zacha joins a team that finished in the OHL basement but boasts two creative Europeans in San Jose Sharks first-rounder Nikolay Goldobin and sophomore Nikita Korostelev. How many more games the Sting win remains to be seen, but they should be a treat to watch.
— Jérôme Bérubé (@Jerome_Berube) August 5, 2014
Remember that time Allan Walsh freaked out on Twitter & said Pavel Zacha would never!! report to Sarnia? #OHL
— Sunaya Sapurji (@sunayas) August 5, 2014
The OHL draft class keeps getting better. Pavel Zacha finally commits to Sarnia #2015NHLDraft
— Daniel Deschenes (@ddeschenes8) August 5, 2014
This is how it's supposed to work with the recent rules the CHL adopted that proscribe trading an import selection for at least one year. It was meant to put a drag on the rich getting richer being having an arrangement that a certain player will only go to one of the big-market usual suspects. (The Memorial Cup host Quebec Remparts, by the by, had the No. 2 selection after Sarnia, but surely that is neither here nor there.) By the same token, that puts an onus on every team to give a player moving halfway across the world all the support he needs to play without distractions.
Looks the Sting's string of very high picks — Steven Stamkos going No. 1 overall in 2008 and Nail Yakupov and Alex Galchenyuk going first and third in '12 — could continue.
Neate Sager is a writer for Yahoo! Canada Sports. Follow him on Twitter @neatebuzzthenet.