USA Hockey Winter Meetings – Junior Hockey Rule Change Proposals

The annual USA Hockey Winter Meetings begin today and there are a number of rule change proposals on deck for Junior Hockey teams and leagues.

A few of these rule change proposals are big changes and will likely make a significant impact on the future.

Rule Change 1 is potentially impactful as it regards to teams switching leagues.  The new rule would allow teams to switch leagues without seeking USAH approval as long as the two leagues agree to the switch.

Rule Change 2 clarifies that Tier II teams may only charge billeting fees.  This would prevent leagues under USAH attempting to claim Tier II status under a pay to play model.

Rule Change 3  Would significantly impact Tier III junior hockey by increasing the import player limit to 4 import players per team.  This would equal the standard of Tier I and Tier II.  This proposal has been sought by Tier III teams for the last few years.

Rule Change 4 Would significantly impact all Tier III consumers.  It would push back the refund dates and amounts if a player leaves a team.  This would even effect a player who chooses to go back to Midget hockey.  This proposal is solely designed to benefit the Tier III Owners, and is not a consumer friendly proposal.

The reasoning behind the Rule Change 4 proposal is simply that teams do not want to refund money to Tier III players who change their minds.  The idea is that teams believe they spend a lot of money recruiting these players and should be compensated for that effort.  This is a proposal TJHN is completely against not only because it is not consumer friendly, but short sighted for owners.

When consumers become aware that their options become limited, the owner then eliminates some consumers from their potential purchasing base.  If Tier III owners want more financial protections, the consumer should have complete disclosure on how their money is being spent by the team.

Rule Change 5 effects the minimum seating requirements for Tier II arenas.  This will go toward a TJHN special report coming this afternoon.

Rule Change 6 would go toward ownership financial standards for Tier I teams only.

Stay tuned for a special report at 1:00 PM today.

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