USHL Opens Doors To Canadians

Brandon Montour of the USHL's Waterloo Black Hawks

Brandon Montour with the USHL’s Waterloo Black Hawks – Photo by Amber Schmidt

The United States Hockey League, USA Hockey’s top Junior loop has made an amendment to their import rules opening the door for more Canadian players to enter the league next season.

Currently, the USHL allows 4 import (non-US born) players on each roster. The USHL announced this week that next season, under the new rule, teams will be allowed to carry an additional two Canadian born players who won’t count against this import cap. The USA Hockey rule reads:

Canadian Imports: Applicable only to the Tier 1 USHL, the USA Hockey Board of Directors granted the USHL permission to roster up to two Canadian-born citizens as non-imports. Presently, each USHL team is allowed up to four (4) import roster positions on their 23-man rosters. This rule change would allow USHL teams to carry a maximum of six (6) imports as long as the two extra import players are Canadian.

This means, more Canadian born players hoping to play NCAA Division I hockey will have an opportunity to play in North America’s top NCAA feeder league.

Tilbury product Brandon Montour made the jump from the GOJHL to the USHL, where he was named the league’s top defenseman and player of the year in 2013-2014 en route to becoming a second round draft pick of the NHL’s Anaheim Ducks. Montour played for the USHL’s Waterloo Black Hawks before a brief stint in the NCAA, and a jump the AHL where he was a First Team All-Star and All-Rookie team member.

The league is not only the top feeder for the NCAA, but it’s becoming a hot bed for NHL prospects. In 2016, 30 current USHLers, plus another 15 alumni were selected in the NHL draft.

The rule is likely to see more top Canadian prospects plucked out of leagues like the OJHL, CCHL, and GOJHL in Ontario, as well as top Junior A leagues across the country.

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