The Canadian Junior Hockey League is the highest level of amateur hockey in Canada, at least according to the NCAA. And because players pass through the many leagues and teams of the CJHL on the way to either NCAA or Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) colleges, CJHL is looking to protect their amateur status. And the tool being used is draconian sanctions on teams who commit recruiting or amateurism violations:
[CJHL Chairman Kirk] Lamb says they have instituted major financial penalties and the team in violation would not be eligible for regional tournament, prospect teams and postseason play for four years.
The NCAA might regard these as garden variety amateurism violations that normally result in a player being suspended for up to a year, or in extreme cases a school being hit with a major violation and one or two year postseason ban. But the CJHL is imposing penalties that look a lot more like Penn State’s than say what happened to Wisconsin freshman Nic Kerdiles.
On the one hand, given that the NCAA has pre-enrollment amateurism rules and that hockey still operates under the old competition with professionals rule, it is good that a foreign sports organization is doing something to preserve the NCAA as an option for its athletes. On the other hand, it is always concerning when other organizations are enforcing the NCAA’s rules, whether it be professional leagues, state governments, or in this case another league across an international border.