EIHL Import Rule Rumoured To Change

There a rumours around the EIHL world that clubs will soon be allowed to sign and play an extra import. Currently the 10 teams that make up the EIHL are allowed to play 10 non-British or import players although some teams choice to sign an 11th import to add squad rotation. The rumours suggest that that import level will be raised to 11.

The argument is that by increasing the import level there will be a better product on the ice and games will be more evenly matched. Also as it is only marginally more expensive to ice another import rather than another British signing clubs can create more revenue. That though is an out-dated and shortsighted way of looking at the problem of a top bottom divide in the EIHL.

Despite this the EIHL is right to look at the import quota. This is because the major problem with that quota is that British players can demand a premium on their wages as they make up the shortfall on the bench. If you look at the GB squad for the world championships in Slovenia 15 came from the top 3 spending teams in the EIHL. This depth gives those teams an advantage over the course of a season that the lesser spending sides do not have.

Even enforcing the salary cap may not solve this problem. It would just mean that those 3 teams would be forced to spend less on import signings. However it would be a start. As would restricting the number of import signings instead of the number of imports icing. This rule would mean that all sides will have the same squad levels for the season and if injuries occur then there is more of a chance for young British talent.

Another way would be to exclude British players under the age of 23 from the salary cap to keep a crop of talent coming through and allow the extra to be spent on improving the quality of the imports or older British talent.

GB in action against Austria

But perhaps most importantly the import level should not be increased to 11 as this would mean teams could role two lines of imports including a goalie reducing British players to nothing more than bench warmers.

If the EIHL is to increase the import level it must at the very least including an EPL style maximum icing clause. This is where teams are only allowed to put out on the ice a certain number of import players. Otherwise the national side, which is already struggling to compete with better-organised nations of the ice, will suffer on the ice.

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