While many Coaches in Canada continue to not be completely forthcoming with players and parents as it relates to the Canadian border closure and the lack of or elimination of billets for some leagues; an new survey out of Canada tells the tale.
The Angus Reid Institute, a right leaning non profit agency known for being highly rated in telling the truth has released a survey from roughly 1800 Canadian citizens regarding the border closure.
About 42 per cent of Canadians said they would prefer if the border reopening was pushed back to September, while about 26 per cent said the restriction should only be lifted next year. Only 14 per cent of people were comfortable with the current June deadline.
Read that again and do the math. Then think about how that kind of thought process will impact families who would be considering billeting, and how that information influences government policy.
The original content can be found here http://angusreid.org/covid19-canada-usa-border/
Before anyone complains that this is because Canadian’s don’t like Trump, keep in mind this is a right wing leaning company conducting the survey that is usually supportive of right wing policy in the United States.
This border closure is not simply a hockey issue. It is a much larger issue connected to the health and welfare of citizens within each country. Small thinking about hockey will not allow you to see the big picture.
Another telling action took place in the United States the other day which received little attention.
The United States Department of Homeland Security signed an exemption allowing “Professional Athletes” to enter the United States. This exemption is for those holding a P-1 Visa.
It is important to note that Canada has not taken the same action for “Professional Athletes” and is not expected to issue any exemption for amateur athletes. Canada has a strict 14 day quarantine rule in place for anyone returning or entering into the country.
While the United States exemption for Professional Athletes is good for Major Junior teams in the United States since their players are on P-1 Visas, it does not change the fact that these teams can not enter into Canada.
While I suspect border crossing accommodations for Major Junior hockey will somehow be developed, the question of ticket sales and attendance will remain.
A recent survey by a WHL fan twitter account says 70% wont buy on line season tickets if fans are not allowed in the building. This immediately says Major Junior is not viable without ticket sales and concession revenue.
Outside of hockey, Canada’s Major Series Lacrosse has cancelled its season entirely. Their season was slated to run from the end of May through the end of July. The Western Lacrosse Association located in British Columbia has also cancelled their season. These in turn cancelled the Mann Cup National Championship.
According to MSL’s Luey, several factors went into the decision to cancel, including:
• government restrictions on large gatherings such as sporting events and concerts.
• government guidelines that call for limiting all non-essential travel.
• the serious economic impacts on MSL’s many business partners, whose support its member clubs rely on for operations.
These same items, until Hockey Canada and the Canadian Government say differently, will continue to effect junior hockey as well.
Of course, once again I don’t expect you to take my word for how things will be this season for Americans who would like to play in Canada. I would hope you don’t take recruiters word either. Do your own research and ask an immigration attorney their opinion.
Joseph Kolodziej – Adviser