Within the last hot days of the summer you can find a number of Czech-born prospects aboard the planes heading North America. They left their families, friends and Czech style of hockey to take the first step on their way to their dream, by playing in the CHL first.
Whether their decision was a good one or not is sometimes questionable. When they come to North America early, they learn the language and they get used to a smaller rink and a different style of play even before they hear their names selected at the NHL Entry Draft. There is no doubt that this is an advantage. But on the other hand there may be a chance to play in the Czech Elite league and the Czech junior national team. At the age of 17 Elite league games help your development more than the CHL games. Both ways have their advantages and disadvantages. It’s up to the player which way he chooses. Most agents would like to see their players cross the sea and they have a big influence on the players and their parents. Leaving home helped future Czech NHL stars like Pavel Brendl, Martin Skoula or Rostislav Klesla to make a name for themselves in the Canadian junior ranks. Martin Havlat stayed at home, played for Trinec in the ELH and won both WJC and WHC championship titles. Now he comes to the Senators camp more mature than he would be if he spent that year in the CHL. Well, lets get through this years CHL Import Draft list with some comments about the players drafted.
1. Ivan Huml (CHL:Val d’Or, QMJHL; Czech:Kladno)