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The SEL has announced that they have unanimously decided that, in the event of an NHL lockout, they will expect any player who signs a contract to play out the full season in Sweden, even if the NHL lifts the lockout should a new CBA be agreed upon mid-season.

From an NHL fan’s perspective, this is interesting.  If indeed there is a lockout for part of the season, the SEL would have been my preferred choice for players to go and play, particularly the younger players, as it is a fantastic league and a great country.  However, I can fully understand the position taken by Swedish Hockey.  They do not want to compromise the long-term quality of their league by allowing a short-term influx of the highest-quality players.  A boatload of NHLers would be great for boosting an individual team’s roster for part of the season, make them more competitive, but that would come at the expense of the ice time of the players who play full time in Sweden, and possibly stunt the development of younger Swedish players by holding them back from competing at a higher level.  This would be the case whatever league NHL players decide to go to if there is a lockout; let’s hope the NHLPA and the owners can get this sorted ASAP.


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