Monday, 9 September 2013

Hurricanes Fighting For (D) Khenkel's Release

Lethbridge Hurricanes General Manager Brad Robson has been a busy guy the past few weeks trying to get a release for his newest import player.

Defenceman Kristian Khenkel (Pronounced HENKEL) was drafted by the Canes in this year's import draft, 20th overall. He's been living in Belarus, but is originally from Germany. This is how Robson described Khenkel after selecting him:

"He's 6 foot 2, 188 pounds. He's originally born in Germany. Khenkel's dad is a former pro hockey player in Europe. He is a skilled player, he's tough, loves the physical game and plays a North American-style which we like. His goal is to come to North America and play in the CHL. The good thing is he has size and can skate too. All the reports we've been getting and the video I've watched indicates he likes to jump up into the play. NHL Central Scouting has him on the radar for next year's draft, so we are excited!"

There's been some snags trying to get Khenkel's release. Khenkel is in Lethbridge waiting to get a shot at practicing and playing with his new team. The problem is, the Belorussian Ice Hockey Federation won't give that release and until they do, Khenkel is not allowed to play.

I spoke with Brad Robson Monday afternoon by phone to discuss what's happened and why things are where they are:


  1. One can not help but feel sorry for Kristian afterall he just wants to play in the CHL. But unfortunately he is being held hostage to Russian politics. Must be the only country that would hold a 14yr old to a 5 year contract. At least the Hurricanes are not alone, apparently there are other teams in the CHL that are waiting for drafted players from Russia or Belarus. Strange though that the Calgary Hitmen (owned by the NHL's Flames) had no problem with their Russian Radel Fazleyev getting here as he was playing in Taber along side of Padakin.

    If this hi-jacking of players continues, I can see the CHL putting a ban on Russian players being a part of the Euro draft.

    Dump'n Chase

  2. This happens in many countries in many sports... even the NCAA (for some silly reason) pretends that the WHL/CHL signs their 14 and 15 year olds to professional contracts.

    Belarus is not a rich country so it's most likely a disagreement over money paid to Khenkel's former club in exchange for its "star player"... the good thing for the Canes is that Khenkel is in Lethbridge and his family/agent/lawyer are all on his side in this conflict... most likely meaning that the Canes have already paid fair value for his international transfer.

    To be fair to the other side, imagine if Duke or Pilon bolted tomorrow to go play in the KHL... the Canes would be outraged even if the KHL club did actually pay the fair transfer fee.