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Report: Canada's NHL teams could face travel issues in USA

TSN.ca Staff

9/4/2009 8:34:45 PM

A decision by the United States Department of Transportation could have a major impact on Canadian teams in the National Hockey League this season, reports the National Post.

The Department of Transportation in the United States has banned Air Canada's charter planes from flying from one American city to another. 

"It's potentially a very significant impact," NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly told Canwest News Services on Friday. "It's crazy and very destabilizing to our business. We're operating on a long-standing interpretation and for it to change overnight on the eve of our season is creating a huge problem for us."

Prior to a recent August ruling by the U.S. government, charter flights that carried sports teams could make several stops in American cities. The new ruling means the charters can only make one stop before heading back to Canada.

In retaliation, Canadian officials have launched an investigation to determine if they will take similar action against charters carrying sports teams from the United States. 

"It's extremely messy for both American and Canadian teams," Air Canada executive vice president Duncan Dee told Canwest. "It was a unilateral action imposed without consultation or Air Canada being able to defend itself. It's obvious the U.S. Department of Transportation doesn't watch hockey."

Officials in the United States had been looking into a small number of instances of passengers - injured players or team officials – on the plane boarding in one city and then leaving the charter in another city, a violation of the original agreement.