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Daily Dish: Remove Import Restrictions? Canadian Junior Hockey News

Published: Thursday, 10 Jan 2019  
By: Stephen Heisler,

With an excess of 300 junior hockey teams across the continent, is there any reason to keep import restrictions in the rule books?

That's the question many struggling junior operators are asking themselves this season. It has always been my opinion that the restriction hinders real development all along. Higher levels of competition fuels improvement.

No other sport restricts the number of non-citizens on a roster, so why just hockey? Are such restrictions even legal? All right, you can stop laughing now. I know, there are a lot of things about junior hockey that should be illegal, but that's an entirely different Daily Dish.

The wheels turn slowly in Colorado Springs but I have to give past Junior Council Chairman John Vanbiesbrouck credit for initiating major changes for USA Hockey's junior program. To date, I've not seen the same level of leadership since his departure. 

Considering all the league (and team) defections to leagues outside the jurisdiction of USA Hockey, maybe it's time for USA Hockey to address the idea of simply striking the import restriction rules from the book in an effort to bring some of these groups back in.

It is my opinion that removing the restriction entirely would ease the pressure off the entire system in the short term by allowing even more international prospects to play. With the USPHL and AAU already in that mode, doing so will have a dramatic effect on the USA Hockey group's level of play in the following season and beyond.

It's about time.

Author: Stephen Heisler from
Stephen Heisler has spent a lifetime in the game of hockey. Stephen is also working with individual teams, coaches, and players as a director with the Heisler Group. Stephen, his wife Deysi, and four children reside in Orlando, Florida.

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