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Canada Tier II Charging Players To Play – CCHL Joins The Growing List Of Leagues

One of the best Tier II leagues in Canada is now facing the changing economic climate in a way that nearly all teams are likely to do in the near future.

The Central Canadian Hockey League (CCHL) will charge $3,750 per player across the board, an increase of more than 400 per cent over the $800 it charged players to play in 2012-13.  This is league wide and not somethings teams will have a choice to do or not to do. 

Part of the decision in making it mandatory was to keep the recruiting field level.  With every team having the same per player fee, no team will have a financial recruiting advantage over another.

The registration fee is broken down into three main components:

The first $1,000 goes to equipment. Each player is essentially purchasing his equipment through the league in an exclusive deal with Reebok-CCM as its official supplier.

The next $1,000 will go toward a “league fee” that will guarantee all players gym memberships, concussion baseline testing, the services of educational advisors, a minimum number of hours of ice-time a week for practice, and post-game meals as outlined in the official CCHL contract.

The next $1,750 will offset club operating expenses.  Some critics have called this a windfall of $40,000 per team.  In reality though this additional money may only assist in teams loosing $40,000 less than last year.  Some teams are said to be loosing $100,000 annually.

There are close to 130 Tier II teams in Canada and most estimates have 100 or more of them experiencing financial losses every year.  It has become very clear that it has become much more expensive to operate at the junior level than the original business model of Canadian Tier II was built around.

Hockey is the most expensive team sport in the world.  The notion that players can or are entitled to play for free is one that could never be sustained.  It never will be fully sustained long term.  You dont see any other sport at the amateur level allowing players to compete with no fee’s.  Soccer even has fee’s and that could be argued to be the least expensive sport.

Breaking the tradition of “free play” will not be an easy one in Canada. 

In the United States it is simply no big deal.  Tier III has been a fee based level of play for years.  One can only question how much longer the NAHL based in the United States can keep the “free to play” model going.

Look for more announcements from the other leagues shortly.  The fee based system is not one that is going away, but is one that is long over due.

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