Yesterday I received several emails on the Canadian border issue. Two of them stuck out to me.
One email was from an American parent of a player and the other was from someone involved in Canadian hockey.
The parent email was as most would suspect, one that sought out to make it clear they believed they could cross the border to play in Canada. The basis of the email was said to be a phone call with an anonymous Canadian Border Services Agent.
The parent went on to say that the CBSA had told her that crossing the border once the season started would be no problem. The Agent allegedly said;
“I was CLEARLY informed that since my son will be billeted, Canada views him as a part time employee”
While I pointed out that no such part time employee designation exists under Canada immigration law and that as an amateur athlete her son could not get a professional work visa, the parent sticks to the story of the border agent.
If you are a parent being told your son can cross, simply hire an immigration attorney. Really, don’t take anyone else’s word for it. Just go to an attorney and see if its possible. I have already spoken to several on both sides of the border.
The other email was very well thought out concerning the persons point of view that hockey was most likely to be played in Canada. They also expressed the opinion that in the United States there were likely to be more problems than in Canada because of the multiple jurisdictions each league plays in.
While I agree that Canada will be playing hockey, and I agree that the leagues in the United States face many challenges, there is still no path for American players to cross the border for non essential purposes.
Some leagues have already been told by their billet families that they will not accept American players. American players even if they could come across would have to quarantine for two weeks before joining a team. How would that be done without coming in contact with Canadian families, or employees at a hotel? Who would pay for that even if possible?
American players would not be able to return to the USA for Christmas break because returning to Canada they would have to quarantine again.
Finally and most importantly its about money. Hockey Canada will allow Americans and say they are welcome when the borders are open because they have to.
The insurance company who underwrites the HC coverage isn’t saying that though. Imagine American one person infecting one Canadian. The news coverage it would receive would be league crushing.
Imagine many getting infected or someone dying because an A-symptomatic American was allowed in the country to play junior hockey? Or imagine an American getting infected by a Canadian while the player was in Canada. Insurance company’s and attorneys would be scrambling.
Premier Doug Ford isn’t going to have an American in Ontario other than the NHL for a very long time. British Columbia’s Premier is saying the same, and those are the two most powerful Premiers in Canada.
Again, don’t take my word for it. Don’t take a coaches word for it. Go to an immigration attorney and ask an expert. Maybe read some Canadian news outlets?
Lets be clear, the Canadian Junior Leagues want American players. Hockey Canada wants American players. I have never said anything other than this. The American players who go to Canada are usually top performers in every league. It makes sense to want them.
The problem is the United States response and handling of the COVID-19 pandemic. While I personally don’t fall into the group of people who believes the world needs to shut down, I also don’t believe many people are acting responsibly in the USA.
Until the numbers decline in the USA, no country wants people from the USA to cross their borders and potentially infect their citizens. Maybe instead of pointing fingers at the guy delivering the news, some people need to look in a mirror.
Joseph Kolodziej – Adviser