Major junior hockey to take 15-year-olds

JIM CRESSMAN -- London Free Press

, Last Updated: 8:22 AM ET

Hockey Canada cleared the way for "exceptional" 15-year-olds to play major junior hockey next season after adopting the Canadian development model set forth by a special task force yesterday at its annual general meeting in Saint John, N.B.

Major junior teams will be limited to one non-North American starting in 2007-08 and the Canadian Hockey League will establish by 2007-08 the maximum number of Americans on Canadian-based teams.

Other age-classification changes:

- First-year midgets (15-year-olds) shall only register and compete in minor hockey. Second-year bantams (14) during the 2004-05 season who were registered on junior teams will be grandfathered for 2005-06.

- First-year midgets can't register and play as affiliate players with major junior or junior teams.

- Second-year midgets (16) will participate in junior under the following guidelines:

Major junior: Each team can play four in 2005-06, three in 2006-07 and there will be a league cap of 40 in each of the three leagues for 2007-08.

Junior A: Each team can play two in 2005-06, two in 2006-07 and none in 2007-08, except those from a major junior team that were reassigned by a major junior league from within their cap. (First-year midgets during 2004-05 on junior teams will be grandfathered for 2005-06 and are to be counted in a team's two players. If a team had more than two in 2004-05, they can play them provided no new 16-year-olds are registered by the team for 2005-06.)

Junior B: Each team can register and play two in 2005-06, two in 2006-07 and none in 2007-08.

Junior C and D: Each team can use one local player in 2005-06, one in 2006-07 and one in 2007-08. The definition of local shall be that in the Canadian development model. They cannot affiliate to a higher category.

- Second-year midgets (16) can be named as an affiliate with both a major junior team and a minor A or B team in the same season. The total number of rostered and affiliated second-year midgets eligible to participate in a game shall be no more than the number outlined above.

- Second-year midgets can play an unlimited number of games as an affiliate after Jan. 10. Permanent affiliates are not permitted.

- Third-year midgets (17) can play an unlimited number of games as an affiliate after Jan. 10. Permanent affiliates are not permitted.


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