BCHL Import Rules Changing in 2013-14:

At the Canadian Junior Hockey League’s Annual General Meeting last Thursday, the ten member Junior A leagues decided to alter the import rules for the upcoming season.
In fact, the only uniform rule that I’ve been able to find that was across the entire CJHL in the past was that each team was only allowed eight import players on its roster at one given time. There seems to have been discrepancies across the country as to whether an import player maintained that status throughout his Junior A career.

In the BCHL, the previous rule was stated like this:

An import is any player transferring into the BC Branch from out of province who finished the last season in another branch – ie Alberta. 

The new rule says imports are now only players who do not have Canadian citizenship, regardless of where they were registered in the previous season.

For example, if a player with Canadian citizenship were to play in a junior league in the U.S. like the NAHL, USHL, WSHL, etc. during one season and then be signed by a BCHL team for the following season, he won’t be considered an import under the new rule.

The exact wording of the new rule is this:

No player having Canadian citizenship shall be classified as an Import.

One of the other rules changed for 2013-14 relates to how long a player is considered an import. Previously, if a player was designated an import, he only carried that notation for his first season playing Junior A hockey and then in his second season he was no longer considered an import.

The previous rule:

You are only designated as in import your first year.

The new rule:

Any player who meets the definition of Import in his first season of Junior A hockey shall continue to be classified as an Import when registering to play Junior A hockey in any subsequent season.

The leagues also decided to change the number of imports teams are allowed to have as well. It’s been reduced from eight to seven. What’s unknown is if the rule is grandfathered or not, meaning if a player (who isn’t a Canadian citizen) skated in the BCHL in 2012-13, is he still considered an import for 2013-14 and beyond?
The previous rule:

A team may only have 8 import players on their roster at any one time and sign maximum of 12 during a season.

The new rule:

The maximum number of Imports that can register and play on a Junior A team at any given time shall be seven (7) in the 2013-14 season, and shall be six (6) beginning in the 2014-15 season. A review of that maximum number shall occur prior to the 2015-16 season.

These new rules will have a definite impact on some teams in the CJHL, while for others, it is simply business as usual as they didn’t usually stock their roster with import players.

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