Canadian Hockey League is helping develop the future of hockey
Sports is big business all over the world. Major events and tournaments can attract so much attention that it becomes truly international, involving different nationalities not just in terms of players but even more so with the audience. With the advent of technology that makes actual and vicarious presence truly possible, the scope and impact of sports is no longer limited to the teams involved or the venue of the event but is now truly worldwide. Despite this globalization of sports, it cannot be helped that an event more associated with a particular country, as in the case of basketball for America. The same is also true with hockey. A mention of the word would most likely bring to mind Canada.
Not surprisingly, the Canadian Hockey League (CHL) is very popular in the country. It is actually not just one league, but three, and focuses on the sport for juniors, i.e., 16 to 20 year olds. The CHL includes within its folds the Ontario Hockey League (OHL), the Western Hockey League (WHL), and the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL). With its focus on the younger age group, it functions like a training ground and development center for the professional levels, and it does in fact provide a lot of not just players but also officials of organizations such as the National Hockey League (NHL) and the Central Hockey League.
The forty-year old CHL (the Canadian Hockey League was established in 1975) takes its player development responsibility seriously, and organizes several activities towards this end with the support of corporate sponsorships. For one, it offers several scholarship opportunities for its young athletes who especially do well in their social and civic capacity. It also hosts three events every year that test their athletic skills.
The Subway Super Series, named after its corporate sponsor, pits the skills of the league's young athletes against their Russian counterparts in a series of six games.
The CHL Top Prospects Game is an all-star event pooling together the league's best 40 players who are also eligible for the NHL Entry Draft. It has been held regularly every year since 1992, and usually features two professional hockey stars as team coaches.
The Memorial Cup Tournament brings together the champions of each of the three leagues and a host team to determine the Junior Canadian hockey champion for the year. The privilege to host, and thus compete, is bid out annually.
The Canadian Hockey League also works for the continued improvement and international promotion of the sport with the import draft that allows each team to add two athletes from outside North America to its line up.