CORNER BROOK Apparently, there are no changes to the Newfoundland Senior Hockey League import rule for the 2013-2014 season.
During the Hockey Newfoundland and Labrador (HNL) semi-annual meeting early this past summer, it was decided that the six franchises in the provincial senior hockey league teams would be permitted an extra import card to be used specifically for a goaltender.
At the time, HNL senior council chairman Gary Gale said the league made a strong case for adding an import goalie card. The senior teams expressed concern that a change in the import rule would be important in preserving parity in a league where it’s become difficult to get quality goaltenders.
However, Western Royals president Ross Coates confirmed Thursday that such is no longer the case.
“HNL approved it, but the league turned it down,” Coates said of the reversal. “They didn’t want any restrictions on an import card. If they were going to get one they were going to get it i not then they didn’t want to be restricted.”
Coates would have been all smiles if the HNL ruling stood up because the Royals have an import card used on Nova Scotia puckstopper. But, he’s willing to live with the decision knowing full well there would be a lot of opposition to an import card being used solely for bringing in a quality puckstopper to stack the pads with some of the premiere locals such as Jason Churchill, Mark Yetman and A. J, Whiffen.
“I guess I got no other choice but to be OK with it when you are one team of a group of six,” he said.
Coates believes the other teams could find out how important it is to have the ability to access an import card for goalies only if something happened to their existing goaltending tandems.
“If a team loses a goaltender they’re going to have a hard time recruiting one,” he said. “They’re tough to find.”
The ruling means it’s status quo for all teams with the Royals allowed to sign four imports, while the Grand Falls-Windsor Cataracts and Gander Flyers are permitted two and the three franchises based on the east coast are limited to two imports for this season.
The Royals, who have renewal of holding seats planned for Oct. 5-6 at the Hodder Memorial Recreation Complex, still have one import card available to them and Coates is expected to meet with the coaching staff over the next week to discuss the possibilities.
“They’ll give us an idea of what they want to do and we’ll look for that then,” he said.