During the 2019 negotiation of the collective bargaining agreement, a rule was added to be used starting in the 2020 season, had it not been lost to the pandemic.
American players who have either been in the on the same team for 3 years, OR, in the league for 4, can be considered a National – for certain situations. Including substituting for an injured National player.
In the newest CBA, Article 14.02, in the subsection where it mentions amendments, it states:
While the rule was part of the 2019 negotiations, it was brought up again recently by TSN’s Dave Naylor:
Naylor added in another tweet that this can take place multiple times, and at the same time, if multiple players are injured on the same play.
Winnipeg Sun journalist Paul Friesen wrote about the rule before the 2019 season, and was able to speak to Blue Bomber player rep, long-snapper Chad Rempel:
“One of our mandates was to protect current members’ jobs, so we were able to successfully do that. Because Canadian content is obviously very important to our fan base. And our members. But our American jobs are equally as important. So how can we create more value for them?”Winnipeg Player Rep Chad Rempel
The rule also states that teams are allowed to carry 3 American players on their active roster who fit the requirements, and still adhere to the ratio.
According to Friesen, this means that 10 “non-imports” can be starters, as long as the 3 extra Americans meet the requirements.
These players can also be backups, and substitute for injured Canadian starters, where previously if a National player went down, they had to be replaced with a Canadian player.
“So it provides more depth. When there is an injury, you’re not required to just replace a Canadian with a Canadian. It can be basically anybody. So the quality of play should go up. You’re not handcuffing GM’s.”Chad Rempel
Obviously this begs the question about the possibility of taking advantage of the rule, and of course it’s it’s worry.
“That’s obviously not the intent. We’re continuing to work on the language around that to make sure it’s not abused. And this isn’t coming into effect until 2020, so we have some time to make sure everyone’s on the same page.”Chad Rempel
We’ll see how the rule actually takes shape during this 2021 season, which starts on August 5th, but hopefully, its intent continues to be its use.