CALGARY, AB -- Following in-depth negotiations, USA Hockey and Hockey Canada have finalized a new player transfer and release agreement for the 2003-04 season.
The one-year agreement essentially governs the procedures for all Junior-aged and younger (20-and-under) ice hockey players who opt to join a team across the border.
The agreement, which includes the Canadian Hockey League for the first time ever, immediately clears the way for transferring players to be eligible for the upcoming season.
"Obviously we’re very pleased that an agreement was reached, as it was difficult to outline language that all parties could endorse," said Doug Palazzari (Colorado Springs, Colo.), USA Hockey Executive Director. "Because we know this issue will have to be addressed further, USA Hockey and Hockey Canada plan to meet before the end of the year to work on a longer -term agreement. But right now we are most excited about the fact that the season can begin and our respective players can participate across the border as they had hoped. We appreciate the significant efforts of Bob Nicholson and Hockey Canada in this entire process."
"We are very pleased to have an agreement in place between USA Hockey, the CHL and Hockey Canada," said Bob Nicholson Hockey Canada President. "We appreciate the patience of all of our teams and players that may have been affected by this delay, but are happy that the season can now officially begin for many teams."
All of Hockey Canada’s 13 provincial Branches have been sent the agreement. Any junior team or league in Canada that may have questions in regards to a player or a team should direct calls to the appropriate Hockey Canada Branch office.