The off side pass will be no more! From the smallest tyke to the near professional, Hockey Canada has eliminated the red line from all levels of amateur hockey for the 2004-05 season. The governing body of hockey in Canada wrapped up its annual meetings Monday in Thunder Bay, Ontario. The red line was one of three pressing issues that they had to deal with, but in the end was the only one they could reach a decision on.
The two others in true Canadian style will be held over for further discussion. Limiting each Junior team in the country to just one 16 year old player will be studied just a little bit more, a decision will be made on it at next years gathering in St. John, New Brunswick. Also put aside for further study was the status of foreign born players on Canadian junior teams, a cause close to the heart of Don Cherry. Concerns have been raised in the last few years about the number of Canadian kids pushed out of the junior developmental leagues with the influx of American and European teenagers streaming into the country to be molded into draftable material in the pressure cooker junior leagues.
It’s expected that some kind of quota system will eventually have to be put in place so as to ensure that Canadian hockey players are benefiting from the monies provided by Hockey Canada. With the current number of non-Canadian players arriving the concern is that eventually Canadian hockey will be funded by Canadian taxpayers but with less and less Canadians actually playing the game. Before that happens though, changes will no doubt be made, a situation that will bring a smile to the face of Donald S.