NAHL Goes To Four Import Players

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NAHL Goes To Four Import Players December 19, 2012 5:02 PM

In a shocking mid season move the NAHL has told its member teams that they can now have four import players.

From the NAHL website:

The North American Hockey League (NAHL) has announced that all 24 NAHL teams will now be allowed to roster up to four import players on their 23-man rosters. The new rule will take effect immediately.

An import player is defined as a player who is a non-United States citizen. The NAHL had previously had a rule of two import players allowed on their rosters. The new rule will allow the NAHL to be on par with the same rule that exists in other non-pay to play leagues.

“When the two-player import rule was instituted 10 years ago, the NAHL was an 11-team league. Today, the NAHL is a 24-team league with over twice as many opportunities for United States-born players to earn roster spots at the non-pay to play level. The time was right for USA Hockey’s import rule to evolve to meet the needs of the current junior hockey landscape,” remarked NAHL Commissioner and President Mark Frankenfeld.

While the hockey community knew the discussion was taking place within the NAHL to allow for more import players, this move took everyone by suprise. The NAHL made it no secret that they felt they were not being treated fairly when compared to the USHL. The USHL has been allowed to have four import players per team for the last two seasons.

What is unclear at this point is how the NAHL was able to achieve the new import player resctritions. Sources have refused to comment on how or if this move was fast tracked theough USA Hockey.

With NAHL expansion being rumored to be on the way with as many as six new teams, additional import player numbers would help the league from watering down its talent pool.

The scramble to add new import players is now on. Coaches have been working across the league to find new talent to fill there rosters. Import players that were cut from NAHL and USHL teams due to the old restrictions have been getting called to return to the states.

Looming now is the import player signing deadline of January 15th, 2013. Less than a month remains for these players to be identified and retained. This will be an interesting holiday season. While many players once thought they would be on holiday break, many may now be traveling to new destinations.

By Joseph Kolodziej

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