Showing posts with label CHL. Show all posts
Showing posts with label CHL. Show all posts

Monday, July 28, 2014

Are Major Junior Hockey Players Underpaid?

So, kind of sounds a lot like the debate that is taking place in division I athletics right now.
Rick Westhead, TSN -- Dias told TSN that when he met with Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne three weeks ago at Queen's Park, Wynne brought up the issue of working conditions in junior hockey with him. Dias said Wynne told him she is interested in learning more about whether players get a fair share of the game's profits.

Flynn's spokesman Craig MacBride declined to comment.

Wynne's spokeswoman Zita Astravas said both the premier and Flynn have already met with Dias.

"Discussions covered a wide range of topics," she said. "Unifor is an important partner and our government looks forward to a positive relationship with labour."

Two years after a similar attempt to organize CHL players fizzled out, Unifor is trying again. The union, which represents about 300,000 workers in various industries, says major junior players are underpaid and exploited by the owners of junior teams that have become hugely profitable in recent years.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Wednesday Links

College Hockey: Providence Goalie Giles making impression on the Flames. [Herald Hockey]

Thieves make off with Roberto Luongo’s tires, leave him with useless tire pump [Pass it to Bulis]

From the soon to be Brooklyn Islanders… Islanders' run of fan torture is unparalleled [The Sporting News]

Penguins Star Evgeni Malkin has a year left on his contract with the Penguins.. The Stars deny tampering with Penguins' Evgeni Malkin [CBC.CA]

Vikings News: Key stadium decisions put on hold until stadium authority reviews Wilf lawsuits and finances [Star and Tribune]

30 Teams, 30 days…. UND’s Jordan Schmaltz is ranked sixth for Blues prospects. [NHL.COM]

CHL president David Branch: Eliminating import players ‘never been discussed’ [Buzzing the Net]

Friday, November 30, 2012

Former PSU recruit Thomas Welsh to sign with the Mississauga Steelheads of the OHL

Thomas and Mike Welsh
Back in September of 2011, I was informed about a highly regarded hockey player that had chosen the NCAA hockey route instead of the CHL route.

At the time, it appeared that the Penn State Nittany Lions had landed Canadian born Thomas Welsh to play his Division I hockey at Penn State University instead of playing in the CHL.

I interviewed his father Mike via email about his son’s decision to join PSU hockey. That article can be found at Inside Hockey.

This past September, Welsh decommitted from Penn State and decided to weigh his options, I wrote about that back in September and that article can be found at Inside Hockey as well.

Yesterday, while I was monitoring my twitter feed I saw a tweet where Thomas Welsh had decided to play for the Mississauga Steelheads of the OHL.

Last night, I reached out to Thomas Welsh and he agreed to an interview.

EB: Thanks for taking the time to answer a few questions. Sorry to hear about the passing of your father Mike.  Can you tell us what It was like to play for Canada East during the recent 2012 Junior “A” Challenge?    

Thomas Welsh: This was an opportunity of a life time.  When I was notified that I had made the final selection camp I was pumped.  It was sad as well, as my Dad passed away the day earlier of being notified, so he wasn’t aware.

The Team Canada East camp was intense, every player there deserved to be there.  The caliber and bar were set high to make the team.  I gave it 100% every practice and game, in fact on the final day, final game, 1st period I broke my nose.  Had it reset on the bench and continued to play with packing in it.  I was notified the next day by the Team Canada East coaching staff that I had made the team.  Everything happened very quickly as the next day the team left for Yarmouth.

With our first exhibition game against Russia, our bus pulled up to the arena and it was unreal to see fans had lined up 2 hours prior to game to try to get tickets to a sold out event.  The community of Yarmouth was nuts, loud, and extremely supportive of all the teams, but especially to the Team Canada Teams.  I have played in front of crowds around 500 but not 1700 people.  It was so professional, from the volunteers, to the staff running the event.

Team Canada East visited a school, played floor hockey with the kids, and talked about the importance of schooling, what it’s like being a player and such.

Disappointing finish for our team, not the result the team should have gotten but none the less an experience that I will forever be grateful for.  Wearing the jersey and representing Canada is a thrill.

EB: Congrats on your next endeavor in hockey. I noticed on twitter that you were heading to the Mississauga steelheads of the OHL. Can you give us some details what led to your making the jump to the OHL?   When did the OHL become an option again?

Thomas Welsh: Well, as you were aware I had a commitment with Penn State for 2013 but decommitted in September of this year, when we could not come to terms with the original agreement.  I was still very much interested in NCAA hockey and as such was doing my due diligence with other Div. 1 NCAA schools.

When Steelheads contacted my advisor and family for a meeting in June, of this year, it was just a meet and greet sort of thing.  They have been monitoring my development steadily since my acquisition and have stayed in contact.

This week, less than 24 hours ago, the Steelheads, presented an offer.  After discussion with my mom and my advisor were able to come to an agreement.  I have a strong interest in schooling along with developing as a player and I feel at this time that the Steelheads will assist me in this next step academically and athletically.  I am looking forward to developing as a player with the Steelheads and Coach Boyd.

NCAA is a fantastic option and I have been lucky to have the option of the OHL as well.   I think either option is great and it’s an individual thing.

EB: When are you going to be NHL draft eligible? My NHL draft is 2013. Who is your favorite NHL team and who would you like to be drafted by? 

Thomas Welsh:  I think being drafted by any NHL team would be a dream, but would probably have to say Leafs.  I’m a hometown boy.

EB: According to the Toronto Sun, you’re expected to play tonight against the Niagara IceDogs.  
Thomas Welsh: Yes, I am expecting the paperwork to be finalized prior to game time.

EB: Thank you for your time and best of luck to you.  If you don’t mind I would like to follow up with you as your season in the OHL progresses. 

Thomas Welsh:  No problem, Thanks Eric you have been fantastic




Originally Posted at the Hockey Writers Combine.

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Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Are the Portland Wnterhawks the next to be punished?

This past summer the OHL’s Windsor Spit Fires were fined $250,000.00 for breaking the OHL’s recruitment/benefit rules and policies. Now according to Dean Milard of the Pipeline Show, the Portland Winterhawks of the Western Hockey League could be the next CHL team to face some stiff punishment for a violations of the recruitment rules. It will be interesting to see how this plays out.
Dean Milard; Coming Down the Pipe --- The In the case of Portland, here is their latest big recruit and a few situations that some might be suspicious of, and reasons why there might not be anything wrong with it at all. Seth Jones joined the Hawks this year after a trade with Everett during the 2012 post season.

- Did the team speak to Jones before the trade?
- Did he simply realize that the Winterhawks have developed some pretty good blueliners lately?
- Did they offer him more money to play in Portland after the trade?

Depending on who you talk to, Jones is a stud no matter where he plays. Some wonder why Everett wasn't his choice as it didn't seem to hurt Ryan Murray who went second overall. But a case can be made for the likes of Joe Morrow and Derrick Pouliot in Portland. As for his NCAA options, he had narrowed his choices down to the University of North Dakota. Formerly the Fighting Sioux. UND is an unreal program and playing there is never a wrong choice, but Portland isn't exactly second banana. They've been to the final, two straight years and some (like me) have them getting back there again this year. Maybe Jones just saw the writing on the wall that they were going to be good, especially with him and jumped on board.
After this revelation; one does have to wonder how many more CHL teams could be in violation of the recruitment/benefits rules? I am sure that Dean Millard and Guy Flaming will keep us updated on this developing situation.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Western Hockey League addresses player safety

Three North American junior hockey leagues have taken major steps to tighten rules to the game of hockey and improve player safety.  From my vantage point, it would appear that all three leagues are also trying to limit the players that play a reckless brand of hockey or at least change the way they play the game of hockey.

This season, the USHL instituted a new rule which has specified a number of penalties that the league has termed as “dangerous play” to include minor penalties (ie: elbowing, head contact, kneeing). Also, the USHL will monitor and review the above penalties as well as all major penalties throughout the season.
When players start accumulating multiple penalties they will be notified and addressed by the USHL Commissioner’s office. This action is being presented as a way to educate the league’s players.  If league office deems it necessary they will punish players via supplementary discipline.

Translation, the league is sending a message to their players – if the players rack up penalties that the league has deemed as dangerous play the players are going to pay the consequences for their actions.
The Ontario Hockey League has put a limit on the number of fights that a player can participate in during the course of a hockey season after a player reaches 10 fights the offending player will begin serving a two game suspension for each fight over 10.

The OHL and the USHL are not alone the Western Hockey League is also enacting some stiffer rules of their own to address on ice play.

During the summer the WHL has adopted this as a rule:
Adoption of a staged fighting rule. Should a fight occur following a face-off during a game, it will be considered a staged fight. Should a stage fight occur during a pre-season, regular season or playoff game, the players involved shall each receive an automatic game misconduct in addition to the major penalty. Should one player clearly initiate or instigate the fight, only that player will receive the game misconduct in addition to a minor penalty for instigating the fight. Should the linesmen intervene and prevent the fight from starting, the players involved will each receive misconduct penalties. [WHL.CA]
The WHL is also going to address player’s safety and deal with the repeat offenders and issue supplemental discipline where it’s necessary.
 The WHL also announced it remains fully committed to the Seven Point Plan introduced this past season to address player safety concerns in the area of head blows and concussions.  The Seven Point Plan includes continued emphasis on discipline as it applies to repeat offenders; production of an education video on player safety; seminar for all General Managers and Head Coaches on September 11, 2012; continuing to provide players with best available protective equipment; working with the WHL Arena Advisory Committee to adopt acrylic glass as a standard for all WHL arenas; continuing to collect and study research data on concussion injuries and their causes.
That makes at least three Junior Leagues in North America are looking to stop a certain type of player in their ranks and have taken steps to address those issues. In reading and interpreting these new rule changes, it would appear that the various leagues are going after the predator/agitators that skate up and down the ice taking liberties with the opposition players – truth be told, these players have been put on notice and their days could be numbered in junior hockey if they don’t change their behavior.

Also, the message should be – if you don’t change your on ice behavior – we will compel you to change your on ice behavior. The Western Hockey League has a page that lists the players that have been given supplemental discipline. To date, 10 players have been suspended a total of 21 games.

Originally posted at the Hockey Writers - Combine


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OHL reduces penalty against the Windsor Spitfires

Back in August the OHL announced that they have fined the Windsor Spitfires for $400,000.00 fines for violating the League's Player Benefit and Recruitment Rules and Policies.

Fast forward to last Friday – now we find out that the OHL has lowered that orginal fine from $400,000.00 to $250,000.00 and now the Spitfires also won’t lose as many first round draft choices as well.
Toronto, ON - Ontario Hockey League Commissioner David Branch met with representatives of the Windsor Spitfires Hockey Club to review the sanctions taken by the League against the Windsor Spitfires for violations of the League’s Player Recruitment Policy which resulted in the team having to make a payment of $400,000.00, losing three (3) first round draft selections, and two (2) second round draft selections.

During the meeting with the Commissioner the Windsor Spitfires accepted that there were certain violations of the League’s Recruitment Policy.

In recognition of the acknowledgement and the cooperation of the Windsor Spitfires, Commissioner Branch modified his earlier decision and the team will pay to the League a payment of $250,000.00 and will lose a first round draft pick in 2013, a second round draft pick in 2015 a first round draft pick in 2016 and a second round draft pick in 2017.

As a result the Windsor Spitfires will not appeal the decision.

Neither the League nor the Windsor Spitfires will be making any further comment in relation to this matter.
So now instead of losing three first round draft choices in 2013, 2014 and 2015, as well as a 2nd round pick in 2015 and 2017 – the Spitfires are only going to lose two first round draft choices in 2013 and 2016 also they will lose a second round draft pick in 2015 and in 2017. Sounds like a capitulation by the OHL front office.
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Monday, February 06, 2012

Changes coming to NCAA Hockey Recruiting?

Canadian Hockey LeagueImage via WikipediaRWD favorite beat writer Brad Elliott Schlossman has a very good article about the letter of intent and the college hockey recruits being poached by the CHL teams until after they have played their freshman year.

I honestly don’t know how they are going to get the CHL to honor those agreements? I don’t think the NCAA is going to get the CHL to agree to that. Why should they? I can’ t see the London Knight’s caring about a blue chip recruit signing a letter of intent to play for a division I college hockey team. It didn't seem to stop the Plymouth Whalers, because J.T. Miller had signed an LOI to play for UND. How did that end up working out for us? Obviously, they didn't care one bit. The thing I would want to know is how much money changed hands on that deal.
Brad Schlossman, Grand Forks Herald --- College Hockey Inc., is working to enact legislation — either with the oversight of the NHL or through the transfer agreement between USA Hockey and Hockey Canada — to bar Canadian major junior teams from stealing a player who has signed a letter of intent until after the player’s freshman year.

And while this is happening, there is a behind-the-scenes movement by some coaches to try to ditch the longstanding gentleman’s agreement between coaches that they won’t recruit players that have made verbal commitments.

If either happens, letters of intent will become big deals to the college hockey world.

The Canadian Hockey League, which routinely tries to poach college players and recruits, is driving these developments to an extent.
I am going to get some flak for this because there are a lot of fans college hockey fans that are against CHL players playing in NCAA Division I hockey once they have played in the CHL.

I am all for it. Why not let them play in the NCAA? I think the NCAA should reevaluate this stance, I think that this policy is out dated and wrong.

I would have no problem with allowing a player that has played hockey in the CHL play in the NCAA if they haven't reached their 19th birthday. The CIS teams don't seem to have a problem with these players playing for their teams and NCAA teams play them in the exhibition games at the beginning of the season.

Maybe that kid was recruited to go to the CHL when he is 16 and he has a change of heart and decides that he would like to play in the college ranks and get his college education. Why not allow him to play for an NCAA Division I team? 

Personally, I would have no problem with an NCAA college team going up to Canada or to a CHL team in the USA and recruiting one of their players to play in Division I hockey. The CHL is actively recruiting our players right now as we speak.They don't seem to care what our players have signed.
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