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Good article Ken ... In small towns who wish to successfully compete in senior hockey the talent pool just isn't there. In St. John's there are enough players to attract two /three competitive teams thus no imports are necessary. In Gander or Grand Falls or even in Sville you need imports to simple compete. Granted some of the imports are not as good as locals but they never the less draw the fans. Your recent story on Martin Lapointe of the GF Cataracts is a good example. This is a highly skilled player, who leaves his job every weekend to play at a very competitive level and is enjoying the rewards it brings. The fans want to see this talent.
AS for importing goons you have to look at it another way. When former pro Darrin Langdon goes around slashing people and forcing them to leave the game because of injury someone has to address this or else teams that are trying to compete have only two options.. fold the club or fight back with toughness. Until this league gets its act together on violence and sets some standards the import rule will have to be there...
Oh yes when you put 1,000 people into a building on a Sunday afternoon and charge them $10 its called entertainment. Its a business and you have to be competitive. Keep the imports I say. Two per team.
Good dicussion. Good story Ken.