A couple weeks ago, everyone in Canadian Junior A, B and C got pretty upset with me when I informed everyone that Hockey Canada has told leagues to not expect to have American players this year.
I published several follow up articles citing actual facts from Canadian health officials that back up that information. Multiple leagues have now come out publicly and stated they don’t know when their seasons will start, and that the game “will look a lot different”, when they do begin play again.
Some Coaches and other team officials wanted to say it was business as usual. Nothing to see here, nothing will change, when in fact things have definitely changed.
Coaches wanted to point out that the Hockey Canada Registry would be open on June 1, 2020 and everything was good. Well, I show me the singings then, and they have since stopped sending me messages telling me how wrong I am.
Why have they stopped sending messages? Because the Hockey Canada Registry has opened.
You may ask just how many Americans were transferred to Canada in a full week since its opening?
None of those players physically entered Canada because the borders remain closed. Three more dual citizens were also signed in Canada, but being a Canadian citizen means you cant be denied entry into the country.
But of course 130 teams in 10 leagues will all say there is nothing too it.
The border remains closed to Americans for non-essential travel. In a survey commissioned by CTV news in Canada, when asked which approach Canada should take to opening its border with the US, 40 per cent of Canadians say Canada should keep the border closed to non-essential traffic until the end of the summer. Thirty-one per cent say Canada should keep the border closed until there is a vaccine.
With the mutual border closure agreement between the US and Canada set to expire on June 21, another border closing agreement extension is expected in the next week that will keep the border closed through the end of July.
The borders, and the conditions set by health officials will be the absolute determining factors of IF and when American players can play in Canada.
While it is potentially possible for the borders to reopen in time for players to go to Canada, testing requirements and quarantine times are not likely to be waived. As long as new cases in the United States are being reported, the border is likely to remain closed.
When you combine the border closure with leagues now publicly stating that season start time will likely be different from league to league and province to province, it is easy to see why Canadian teams would not count on having American players this season. It is also easy to see why American players should not count on having a Canadian playing option this season.
As players have begun to explore options, one option is becoming more popular. Europe.
Borders in Europe have opened and arenas are opening. Sporting events with spectators will begin on June 15th in many places while they have been playing without spectators since the end of May.
More and more, we gets more calls and emails, and the option of playing in Europe, is becoming more attractive to American and Canadian players.
Joseph Kolodziej – Adviser