KHL to abolish junior draft after recruitment struggles

KHL president Dmitry Chernyshenko. (Sergey Ponomarev/AP)

MOSCOW — The Kontinental Hockey League says it will abolish its junior draft, which has struggled to become a hit with fans and suffered from talented young players opting to move to North America.

Of the last four No. 1 picks in the KHL draft, only one has gone on to play in the league, with two others opting for the Canadian junior leagues instead.

Russian clubs are also allowed to draft-protect the most promising players from their youth academy systems, which often means few top players are eligible.

Last season, the event was rebranded as the “market of juniors” as the league tried to avoid using the imported word “draft.”

The 2016 draft will be the last, with a new, as yet undetermined system to begin in 2017.

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