Yesterday, in Part One, we discussed the basics of the import player rule that nearly all country’s have some variation of.
Lets begin a more in depth examination with Canada, and why Canadian players are not crossing the border in large numbers.
First, the best players are going to the OHL, QMJHL, WHL, and BCHL. They are either getting paid, or not paying to play in those top leagues. In the case of Major Junior, those players have education packages, so the NCAA option is not what they are looking for.
Canadian players, for their entire lives, are drilled to believe that reaching the OHL, QMJHL, or WHL is the pinnacle of junior hockey. After that its the BCHL and other Tier II leagues.
In Canada, a University education is not nearly as expensive for Canadians as a University education in the United States. So unless its a big scholarship package, there is little motivation to cross the border.
Why would any Canadian leave to play Tier III in the United States when they can pay less to play Tier II in Canada? The players that do this, are simply not good enough to play Tier II in Canada in most cases.
Canadian players play for free or next to free in Junior B leagues. Some players get added benefits for dropping down to Junior B from Tier II.
There is plenty of NCAA scouting in Canada. Unless a player is bound for the USHL, NAHL, or NCDC, why would they leave when scouting wouldn’t be impacted?
Canadian players lose money coming to the United States and paying to play hockey. Not only are they paying tuition, but they are losing on the exchange rate when they pay with Canadian money.
There are enough pay to play options in Canada now that they don’t need to leave their homes in most cases if they are going to pay to play. Which means not paying a monthly billet fee. Not paying for additional travel expenses. Sleeping in their own bed, not leaving their friends or family.
Looking at rosters across the board in the United States, there are minimal amounts of Canadian players even in the USHL, NAHL and NCDC. These free to play leagues don’t even use all of their import player openings.
So again, where is the argument in favor of expanding the import player limits when there were already expanded and there was only a negligible impact on free to play hockey, and nearly zero impact on pay to play?
Tomorrow we will address European players.