ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — He’s one of the best prospects in hockey history. He was drafted by the Blackhawks. He’s also just 18 years old. Connor Bedard is a must-see talent, and his age means there’s a chance he could bring those talents to Rockford for the IceHogs.
However, Rockford fans won’t get an opportunity to see Bedard don the IceHogs sweater due to an obscure rule you may have never heard of.
It’s all due to the CHL-NHL Transfer Agreement, according to The Hockey News. The agreement sets guidelines for when a player is allowed to leave the Canadian Hockey League (where Bedard played last season), to play in the National Hockey League.
According to the transfer agreement, “for an NHL draft prospect to leave the [CHL] to play minor-league hockey, he must be 20 years old (by Dec. 31 of that season) or have played four seasons in the juniors. Junior players can still leave their junior team beginning at age 18 to play in the NHL.”
Because Bedard is not 20 years old and has not played four seasons in the CHL, he is not eligible to play for the IceHogs. Bedard would simply be loaned back to his CHL team if he were to play for any team except the Blackhawks.
However, Bedard’s talent likely makes the rule moot, as he is expected to make the Blackhawks opening day roster.
Chicago begins preseason action on Thursday, hosting the St. Louis Blues.