Each team will be permitted an extra card specifically for a goaltender
It’s status quo in terms of import cards for provincial senior hockey this season, with one exception.
During the Hockey Newfoundland and Labrador (HNL) semi-annual meetings in Gander this past weekend, it was decided that each of the six Newfoundland Senior Hockey League (NLSHL) teams will be permitted an extra import card to be used specifically for a goaltender.
According to HNL senior council chairman Gary Gale, “There was quite a bit of debate” concerning the import rule as teams were looking to add an additional import skater. Meanwhile, the senior council was actually looking to cut the number of imported players.
The NLSHL had come to the senior council with an eight-point proposal after the June AGM.
“They wanted an increase of one more import per team,” Gale noted.
“The league said with six teams this season, player recruitment could be more of a problem and they could use more imports.
“Last year, our plan was to cut one import across the board and we did. This year, the plan was to cut another one across the board, but we held off on that.”
Therefore, nothing changes when it comes to imported forward and defencemen.
“But the league made a very strong case for adding an import goalie card,” said Gale. “The senior teams said it was important in preserving parity. I understand that because it is difficult to get quality goaltenders in the province.”
The Western Royals will continue to be permitted four import skaters. The Gander Flyers and Grand Falls-Windsor Cataracts are permitted three each, while the Clarenville Caribous, Conception Bay North Eastlink Stars and Mount Pearl Blades, who rejoined the league after a one-year hiatus, are permitted two each.
Gale said a basic import formula was put in place some time ago to take into account the various regions of the province.
“As you get closer the major centres where there’s a bigger population, you cut the number of imports because of the player availability.”
He pointed out the population on the west coast has gone down considerably over the years.
Player cost also factored into the equation said Gale, who noted, that for Western, for example, it is cheaper to bring in imports from Nova Scotia and Ontario than from St. John’s.
“Our role,” said Gale,” is to do the best we can to have a balance. The guiding principle for senior council is that we’d like the league to use as many local players as we can.”
NSHL president Neil Norcott could not be reached for comment.
The NLSHL’s Eastern and Western division teams will play an interlocking schedule followed by a round-robin playoff in each division, with the top teams meeting for the Herder Memorial Trophy championship.
Other issues and decisions covered at Hockey Newfoundland and Labrador’s semiannual meeting:
• The Midget AAA Female Atlantic Championship will be hosted by the Deer Lake Minor Hockey Association from April 3-6, 2014.
• Plans were made for the Long Game to coincide with World Girls Hockey Day on October 12, 2013; in which three games will be played in the province in the early morning with live interactive across the country as games continue throughout the day.
• The Central West Junior Hockey League has been classified as a Junior C category for the upcoming season.
• The Minor Hockey delegates approved the formation of a provincial AAA peewee and bantam League to begin play in the 2014-2015 season.
• The Stephenville Minor Hockey Association will host the kick off for the 2014 Grant Thornton Minor Hockey Week Celebration on Jan. 11, 2014. The theme for Minor Hockey Week this year is Focus on the Journey, not the Destination.
• Gros Morne Minor Hockey Association was awarded the 2014 Bantam Irving Oil AAA Championship from February 21-23, 2014.
• Goulds Minor Hockey Association will be hosting the 2014 AAA peewee hockey championship from February 14-16, 2014.
• In female hockey it was decided that there will be a restriction on the number of under age players on a team to close the age variance on some in female hockey teams.
• The branch coach facilitators were trained in the new introduction to body checking skills program in attempt to train more coaches in this important tactic to enhance the safety of the players before they enter body checking in the bantam division.