Thread: NHL Entry Draft
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06-24-2012, 04:49 PM
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Here's an explanation of what happened with Ryan from a reputable US news source...

Ryan’s Dream Shot Down
Cornell freshman defenseman Joakim Ryan, a candidate for the Swedish National Junior Team, has been told by the IIHF that he is ineligible to participate in the games, which start Dec. 26th in Calgary and Edmonton, Alberta.

What the IIHF learned was that Ryan has never been rostered on a Swedish team for 24 consecutive months, reportedly a little-known requirement. Ryan did play minor hockey for Malmo, but was only on roster for 22 months.

Ryan, a dual citizen who speaks fluent Swedish, skated for Sweden in the U-17 Ivan Hlinka Tournament as well as in the World Junior A Challenge in Penticton, BC in Nov. 2010 (while with the Dubuque Fighting Saints). Neither of those tournaments, however, are IIHF-sanctioned.

This past April, Ryan, who had been guaranteed a spot, was unable to skate for Sweden in the U-18 World Championship as his team, the Dubuque Fighting Saints, were in the USHL playoffs (which they eventually won). The U-18 World Championship is, of course, an IIHF-sanctioned tournament. Once a player appears in an IIHF-sanctioned tournament with any particular country, he’s locked into that country permanently, i.e. dual citizens can’t jump back and forth. Interesting that it wasn’t an issue then, but is now. The World Junior rosters are probably vetted more closely than the U-18 rosters, but still…

At any rate, Ryan, who skated with Sweden at the Junior Evaluation Camp in Lake Placid, NY in August, can, since he’s a ’93 and has a year of eligibility remaining, either appeal the IIHF’s decision and try to play for Sweden again next winter, or try out for the U.S. National Junior Team.

For now, though, Cornell, which could lose forward Brian Ferlin and goaltender Andy Iles to the U.S. Junior Team, will at least have Ryan on hand for the Florida College Classic Dec. 29-30.

Still, losing an opportunity to play in the WJC so late in the game —especially on a technicality -- is a tough pill to swallow.

“You talk about a kick in the gut… holy cow,” said Ryan’s family adviser, Jim Troy. “He’s devastated. It’s not like he can now turn to USA Hockey and say ‘Here I am.’”

Ryan is a dual citizen by dint of the fact that his mother, Catarina Lindqvist, is Swedish. Lindqvist was a pro tennis player who twice reached the semis of a Grand Slam Tournament (the Australian Open, and Wimbledon), only to lose both times to Martina Navratilova. So you can see where Ryan, who has also represented Sweden in international tennis tournaments, gets his athleticism.

Ryan, who is 5’10”, 182 lbs., was passed over in last summer’s NHL Draft. In nine games this season for Cornell, he has a 4-3-7 line and leads rookie d-men in scoring.

The IIHF rules seem to be slanted towards an emphasis on the country of a players development rather than any notion of national preference for the player when it comes to dual-citizens. The US has actually been on the wrong end of some of these rulings recently as well (Stefan Matteau and Alex Galchenyuk, though the former reportedly won his appeal and the latter has reportedly given up his Russian citizenship to help ensure his eligibility) and I'm sure it's extremely frustrating for the players even more so than the fans.

As a US fan, I wouldn't have a problem with Ryan representing Sweden despite the fact he's a product of the US development system. Samuelsson would be a little more annoying considering he spent a year in USA Hockey's NTDP program and has played for the US in an IIHF event. I don't know that William Nylander even actually has US citizenship as I believe he was born in Canada and neither of his parents are American. It should be noted that if he hadn't moved to Sweden he may have only had eligibility to play for Canada in the future so from a Swedish perspective it's certainly a fortunate decision he made the move.

At the same time I gather there's a real disconnect between what makes a person one nationality or another in America compared to Europe. The Samuelsson's might be 100% Swedish ethnically but in the US that doesn't stop them from being 100% American if they have citizenship. I remember hearing about Russian hockey announcers claiming the US had "stolen" Nick Bjugstad from Norway despite the fact he was born and raised in the US. I guess it goes to show there's no easy answer to these kinds of things but it's interesting to see as someone who's probably got a few dozen different ethnicities in his family lineage and considers himself "American" before any of them.

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