Oslo’s Vålerenga hockey club has admitted that it has had two Canadian players on its team without acquiring legal work or residence permission for them. Immigration agency UDI has cracked down on the club, and now Vålerenga won’t be able to use either player in the current Norwegian championship finals.
Both players also face deportation, the club may be reported to the police, and it risks being prohibited from using foreign players in the future.
Brendan Brooks, age 35, and Eric Chouinard, age 33, were both recruited by Vålerenga and have been among Vålerenga’s most important this season, but club managers didn’t play by Norway’s strict immigration rules. UDI officials claim that both Brooks and Chouinard would have been granted work permission if only Vålerenga had filed the correct applications.
“They have been victims of our stupidity,” a candid Jan Tore Kjær, sports director for Vålerenga Hockey, told NRK.
Brooks said the entire issue came as a shock to him and he hoped it was based on a misunderstanding. “This is out of my hands,” he told NRK. Now he and his family must leave Norway, and Chuinard already has left the team.