Proposed NHL draft rule change supported by Kelly

In an article on Canadian website this week, College Hockey Inc. executive director Paul Kelly said that he supports Hockey Canada president Bob Nicholson’s proposed rule change regarding the annual NHL draft process.

Nicholson has suggested that the NHL should change the age of draft eligibility from 18 to 19, excluding players chosen in the first round.

This would affect college players having to play at least their freshman year if they enter college as an 18-year-old and could possibly fix the issue of players committing to NCAA schools and then going the Major Junior route.

“I do think there (are) a few teams that are doing something which is off the books and not in compliance with their league rules. I don’t think any of the other owners approve of that,” Kelly said. “From our perspective in NCAA hockey, if a kid commits and then he breaks that commitment for, among other reasons, the fact that somebody’s giving him a big bag of cash, that just shouldn’t happen.

“On behalf of the colleges in the United States, the 58 programs that I represent, they strongly favor the proposal advanced by Bob Nicholson.”

Kelly and Canadian Hockey League commissioner David Branch will meet in Toronto in two weeks from now for further discussion.