Long read.. Was just browsing some stats and some hockey pages and noticed a few players, mainly from Europe, that played in the IHL at the age of 16-18. Players like Sergei Samsonov, Robert Dome and Radek Bonk, are a few names that popped out. I am sure there are alot more. First question I guess is, could North American players play in the IHL or even the AHL as underagers? in the past or currently today? or was it or is it currently only an option for European players?. Does eligibility to play in the IHL of the past or the current AHL as and underager have anything to do with CHL (OHL, QMJHL, WHL), contracts supposedly keeping players until they are 20, unless in the NHL?. Could OHL players, 18-20, legally sign and play with teams in the IHL or even the AHL of today? or do CHL have a legal right to stop them still?. Alot of questions I know, recently reading some Sydney Crosby articles, about how if the NHL lockout had continued for a second year, his options were Europe or to sign in the AHL. I remember the QMJHL and the Rimouski owners claimed to have a legal way of stopping Sydney from playing anywhere in North America or something like that. Then today, while browsing I find the following, taken from Wayne Gretzky's biography on Legnds of Hockey. In the fall of 1978, Gretzky joined the Indianapolis Racers after signing a personal services contract with Nelson Skalbania, the team's owner It mentions he wanted to play in the NHL, but the minimum age at that time was 20, drafting players at the age of 19, was how it was done. Gretzky playing in the WHA as an 18 year old is nothing new, most of us know this history, however I find it interesting that Gretzky's OHL team didn't cause any legal problems, to the best of my knowledge anyhow. Maybe someone who is older might remember if there was any drama. According to todays landscape, The Greyhounds would of been able to stop him, did that not exist back then?, OHL contracts?. Unless Gretzky signing a personal services contract, negated any legal rights that the OHL and SSM Greyhounds had?. If this is the case why don't more players in the CHL do this? Exceptional players like Lindros could have left the OHL and have a season in the IHL or AHL back in 1991, to continue to develop or test their skills?. Taking it one step further, what would of stopped Crosby or Lindros from signing a personal services contract with an NHL club/owner? (The CBA?). Taking it even a step further, Gretzky had one, he was allowed to remain with Edmonton upon entering the NHL, couldn't Lindros or some future star use that to his advantage?. The precident was set by Gretzky in 1979-80. Seems like a lot of legal loop holes that could be used to avoid being drafted. Drafts are considered illegal to begin with aren't they?, the OHL contract players 15-18 sign is considered illegal by some as well, because the player is not considered an adult. John Tavares, is a player who comes to mind, when I was thinking about these issues. Already in his second year, he isn't NHL Draft eligible until, what is it 2009?. For the sake of his progression, if he is going to be a 'superstar-elite-franchise' player, perhaps 2 more years in the OHL isn't the best thing for him. Obviously 1 more year is, what are his options in his draft year?. Legally. AHL?, Europe? or be forced to play in the OHL for 1 final season?. Could he break rank and sign a contract, personal services or otherwise with the Chicago Wolves of the AHL, or some other team and play as an underage AHLer, or is there an NHL/AHL agreement that stops this?. The IHL considered itself competition to the NHL, much like the WHA to a lesser degree, so I can't imaigne any agreements between to two leagues in the past to stop such things as I have mentioned.