"Right now NHL teams have to make a decision on whether to offer pro contracts to (Canadian Hockey League) players just 2 years after they drafted them. In some cases late bloomers get dropped because the NHL team can’t afford to be that patient with them by keeping them on their reserve list. NHL teams retain the rights to their NCAA draftees until after they graduate so why should it be any different with players who opt to go to Canadian University programs?It makes too much sense to give Canadian universities the same courtesy as their NCAA counterparts. In the former case, this would only apply to a handful of players, especially now that the NHL entry draft is only seven rounds.
"... My solution would allow (a player) to continue to develop his skills in the CIS while still having that safety net of a NHL team owning his rights. He’d still have the opportunity to participate in training camps where as he might not if he was simply a UFA playing CIS hockey. This plan would encourage more players to go the CIS route at the end of their junior careers, get an education while doing so, rather than accept ECHL contracts where there is no guarantee of a lengthy career. Considering the CHL will pay scholarships to all of their former players to continue on to CIS, it only makes sense for everyone involved." Guy Flaming, Coming Down The Pipe!, "5 Ways To Change College/Junior Hockey"
Still, Flaming, who's presumably been influenced a little by working in the city that boasts the perennially strong Alberta Golden Bears, makes a good point about the improved quality of CIS hockey.
The back cover of the Sept. 16 edition of The Hockey News includes Canadian Hockey League advertisement on the back cover which boasts that 10 CIS all-Canadians are graduates of the major junior system, including player-of-the-year Rob Hennigar, who's now in the New York Islanders system. The CHL wouldn't be boasting of that fact if they didn't think it was a good calibre of hockey.
(Incidentally, plans are afoot to do a "5 Ways To Change The CIS" series, shamelessly ripped off from Puck Daddy's 5 Ways I'd Change The NHL feature. Anyone who's interested, please shoot an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.