Showing posts with label Canadian Hockey League. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Canadian Hockey League. Show all posts

Friday, April 05, 2013

OHL Hockey; Greyhounds defenseman Chris Buonomo hits Owen Sounds forward Kurtis Gabriel



Looks like the OHL has their problems as well in the player safety department, this is a head scratcher to me. That's a blatant hit to the head that happened during game four of the OHL playoffs, between the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds and the Owen Sound Attack. There was no penalty called on the play. There will also be no additional supplemental discipline handed down by the OHL. Unbelievable!
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Friday, February 08, 2013

UND: what could have been

New Jersey Devils
New Jersey Devils (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Now that the NHL is back in full swing, a few young players are starting to make their NHL debut with their clubs. Some of the names are kind of familiar. There are two that might stick out for North Dakota Hockey fans.
During the last two seasons, the University of North Dakota Hockey team had two highly coveted recruits (J.T. Miller and Stefan Matteau) decommit from the team and decide to go a different route.
Obviously, UND fans were a little miffed at these two young men for changing their mind and going a different route.
While I was disappointed at first, that neither of these two kids honored their commitment, I am not longer upset about it. Here’s why. Neither of these kids would’ve been here that long anyways, and in the long run it ended up working out for the best anyways.
In August, right before the 2011-12 season, J.T. Miller decommitted from UND, and signed a signed with the Plymouth Whalers of the Ontario Hockey League. Miller’s decommit put UND in a precarious situation. Without Miller, UND immediately became a different type of team.
Because Miller changed his mind at the last minute, UND wasn’t able to just go get another player of Miller’s skill set. Players like that aren’t just a dime a dozen.
In response to the last minute defection, UND picked up a walk-on recruit named Connor Gaarder from the Coulee region Chill of the NAHL.
In 61 games with the Plymouth Whalers, Miller scored (25g-37a—62) and after his season with the Whalers was over, Miller played in eight games during the Calder Cup playoffs for the Connecticut Whale of the AHL.
This past week, Miller was called up to the New York Rangers and scored during last night’s game against the New York Islanders. Miller scored the first two goals of his NHL career leading the Rangers to a 4-1 victory.
In retrospect, Miller would have been at UND for a single season, while losing him last summer was as setback and he would have been a great addition to UND’s depleted lineup. UND found a way to win without him.
Last January, USDT U18 recruit Stefan Matteau, who had originally committed to play at the University of North Dakota, decommitted from UND, and decided to play for the Blainville-Boisbraind Armada of theQuebec Major Junior Hockey League.
This was the second high profile player in as many years to decomitt from UND and go to the Canadian Hockey League.
Of course the UND fan base was upset. But UND nation was not alone; these defections have also happened to the University of Michigan and Miami University as well.
Matteau had a strong start to the season with the Armada (18g-10a—28pts) in 35 games and was invited to the New Jersey Devils camp once the NHL lockout was settled and has started the season.
Matteau ended up playing in the Devils first five games of the season before being a healthy scratch for the next four games in a row.
The New Jersey Devils could have sent Matteau back to Blainville-Boisbraind, but instead he remained with the New Jersey Devils and last night he was skating on a line with former Fighting Sioux forward Travis Zajac and Ilya Kovalchuk to start the game.
Looking back, I think it’s safe to say that Matteau is another player that wouldn’t have been here very long, in the end his decommitment to UND might not be such a bad thing.
During a recent UND hockey media day, I had a conversation with someone about the makeup of the current North Dakota hockey roster and how it could have looked if these two players had actually made it to North Dakota. It’s something to think about.

Cross Posted at the Hockey Writers Combine... 

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Thursday, September 20, 2012

OHL to limit fighting

Ontario Hockey League
Ontario Hockey League (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The Ontario Hockey League of the Canadian Hockey League has announced that starting this season the League is going to try and limit fighting in their league. The OHL is also trying to remove the one dimensional goon’s from it league and has enacted the following new rules this season. While the Anti-pugilist are already cheering this new rule change I think that it’s a bad idea - the NHL will be  monitoring the OHL's new rule change.

OHL rule:
1. If a player is assessed a fighting major for the 11th to 15th time during the regular season, such player is assessed an automatic two-game suspension for each additional fighting major in addition to any other penalties assessed.

2. If a player is assessed a fighting major for the 16th time or more during the regular season, such player is assessed an automatic two-game suspension and the hockey club is fined $1,000 for each additional fighting major in addition to any other penalties assessed.

3. If a player is deemed to be the instigator in any of the fights above the 10-game threshold, such player would be assessed an automatic four-game suspension in addition to any other penalties assessed.

Note: If a player is instigated upon, the fighting major is not included in the player's total number of fights
The reason that I think that limiting the amount of fighting in the OHL or even the NHL is a bad rule - fighting in hockey keeps the players on the ice honest and allows the players to police the game themselves in stead of counting on the refs.  Hockey is a very fast paced game and you cant always count on the refs to make the right call either. In many cases they won't.

Limiting fighting in one league is the first step to an all out ban in all other levels of hockey both professionally and in the junior ranks and I don't think that this is a road I would like to see the NHL go down.

Could you imagine if hockey players of the Matt Cooke variety played the game of hockey without the fear of having to fight? Players of Cooke's ilk would have the ability to skate all over the ice taking liberties with other teams top players without the fear of retribution, that would set a very bad precedence and you would probably see an increase in head injures as well as random acts of gratuitous violence.

If the two aforementioned leagues decided to limit and or enact an all out ban on fighting you actually be putting the players in worse danger than if you left the leagues the way it is.
Another reason I think that this rule is bad is - players and coaching staffs utilize the mediums available to them and they're familiar with stats - it's available to them on the internet at the click of a mouse  - also the teams media people have the stats readily available to players and coaches at a moments notice and they can research their opponents before the game/series.

I also have a question, how did the OHL come to the number of 10 in the first place?

Let's take this a little further; if you're a player from another team and you know that a certain's team's tough guy or tough guys have already have crossed the 10 or 11 fights threshold - the opposition better have their head on a swivel - because those players are not going to want to just drop the gloves and fight because they have reached that magic numeric threshold of 10 fights.  I don't know too many players that are going to want to serve a two game suspension for each fight past their 10th fight.

I can see where this is going already, this has to potential to put that teams star players safety in jeopardy later in the season, because the opposition knows that there is probably less chance of facing "any" retribution if they commit a questionable or dirty hit against the other team's players. I could also see how this new rule will probably lead to an increase in stick work as well.

I know that the NHL would like to get rid of the staged fight, but what actually constitutes a staged fight - the lines are blurred a bit and how do we know that the staged fights don't serve a purpose also? I just think in this situation that the status quo is fine the way it is.

Here is a tweet by Nashville Predators tough guy Brian McGrattan that caught my eye this even. I think that there are going to be more NHL players that probably hold this view than not.

Originally posted at the Hockey Writers - Combine
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Sunday, August 19, 2012

CHL to have a players union

Canadian Hockey League
Canadian Hockey League (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
This article caught my attention and is worth a read if you haven't seen it.

I wonder what kind of grievances you will see filed in regards to the education packages and compensation? I wonder if that zinger is too soon.
Mike Davies, Peterborough Examiner --- A union for Canadian Hockey League players has been in the works for 14 months and will soon go public, says a spokeswoman.

Sandra Slater, a consultant for the Canadian Hockey League Players Association (CHLPA), expects the group to go public within 10 days. The CHLPA aims to create better representation for junior hockey players regarding rights, education packages and compensation for their use in league branding as well as CHL and Hockey Canada events, particularly, the World Junior Hockey Championship.A union for Canadian Hockey League players has been in the works for 14 months and will soon go public, says a spokeswoman.

Sandra Slater, a consultant for the Canadian Hockey League Players Association (CHLPA), expects the group to go public within 10 days. The CHLPA aims to create better representation for junior hockey players regarding rights, education packages and compensation for their use in league branding as well as CHL and Hockey Canada events, particularly, the World Junior Hockey Championship.

“The CHL is big business. They make millions of dollars a year and these kids make it for them,” said Slater. “Hockey Canada is a big part of this as well.”

If a 60 per cent majority of players accept the union, Slater says the CHL will have no choice but to recognize it by law.

“We're hoping to have a good working relationship,” she said.
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It also sounds like some of the same arguments that you hear surrounding the NCAA are also being talked about by the CHL players. Some have argued that college and universities should play the NCAA players especially in NCAA football and basketball because their schools makes so much off of the fruits of their labor.
D'Agostini said a QMJHL player he trains with mentioned it one day but that's the extent of his knowledge. He admits to mixed feelings. He says players should be compensated for the use of their image and he wouldn't turn down more money but he says: “I can't complain about the things I have gotten out of this league. The experience of playing for Team Canada. Playing in the Subway Series. You're always decked out in nice gear and are given free stuff. I'm sure I have gone through thousands of dollars worth of hockey sticks alone. I know I have been well taken care of. I don't know what to say.”

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Does the OHL commissioner lack transparency?

Last week we found out that the OHL had put the hammer down on the Windsor Spitfires of the OHL – going forward fans were interesting in knowing who were the players that were involved in the Spitfires recruiting and benefits scandal. This is does not seem to be an unreasonable request.

Ontario Hockey League commissioner Dave Branch has said that he isn't going to release the names of the players that were invovled in the scandal.

Apparently, there are a lot of unhappy people to include people in the media – it seems as if Ontario Hockey League commissioner lack of transparency isn’t sitting well with the Media and OHL fans bases.
Bob Duff, The Windsor Star --- This is the plan that Ontario Hockey League commissioner Dave Branch has opted to follow since he revealed Friday that the Windsor Spitfires would be fined $400,000 and docked five draft picks for violating the league's recruitment and benefits policy.

For good or bad, this could prove to be Branch's defining moment in a long and storied career as the man in charge of the OHL.

"To hand out that kind of punishment, you would hope that he must have some pretty rock-solid evidence," suggested one OHL executive, who wisely didn't want to be named.

If Branch doesn't, then all those pro-Spitfires conspiracy theorists who insist Branch is just out to get their favourite team might actually have a point.

This is exactly why he needs to spell everything out in intimate detail.
Apparently the OHL Commissioner Dave Branch doesn't plan on giving out any further details on the matter – which will only add fuel to the fire and cause further speculation.
"I'm not going to give any details," Branch said. "It's not about players. It's about the Windsor Spitfires hockey club."
It’s going to be interesting to see if the shoe drops on any other CHL teams or if the Spitfires are the only team that is going to feel the wrath. I also understand why fans would be upset with Branch for not releasing the details of his investigation because lack transparency it does play into the conspiracy theorists hands.
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Tuesday, July 17, 2012

The Kitchener Rangers sue the Michigan Daily

Kitchener Rangers
Well the big bad Kitchener Rangers of the Ontario Hockey League have finally sued The Michigan Daily newspaper. Wow!
Sunaya Sapurji, Yahoo! Sports --- Herschel Fink, the lawyer representing the University of Michigan student paper and reporter Matt Slovin, confirmed to Yahoo! Sports on Tuesday that his clients had both been served with libel notices.

“It’s really disturbing to me what the Rangers are doing and it’s bullying,” said Fink. “It’s bullying a student newspaper and student journalists who are reporting on a legitimate subject of public interest, particularly in the public interest of those who follow hockey.”

The Rangers are suing The Daily over a story published on July 2 in which Slovin reported - based on an anonymous OHL source -- that Winnipeg Jets prospect Jacob Trouba had been offered $200,000 in lieu of an education package to play in the Ontario Hockey League this season. Such a payment would contravene the OHL’s rules pertaining to impermissible benefits. The Rangers hold the Canadian Hockey League rights to the standout defenceman, though he has been steadfast in his commitment to attend the University of Michigan and play hockey for the Wolverines.
On July 13th, Herschel Fink the lawyer that is representing The Michigan Daily and Matt Slovin in this frivolous lawsuit was on Toronto's Sports Net 590 the fan and you can listen to the interview by Matt Brown on this link provided. [Click to listen]

The Kitchener Rangers must really be proud of themselves.

Really! I am being serious, the Kitchener Rangers of the Ontario Hockey League have sued a college newspaper because they disagreed with a story that The Michigan Daily wrote and published in their newspaper. So what is the message here? When you don't like the story that was written in a newspaper you sue the author of the article? Why? I do think this law suit is about getting the CHL's honor back and that the Rangers are a proxy in this fight against the NCAA- especially after last summer when the former head of College Hockey INC Paul Kelly told the Boston Globe that the CHL offered players that had committed to College Hockey teams large sums of money to de-commit and have their kid come play for their team.
“As much as the CHL denies it, there are still instances where money is being paid to the family to lure kids away and de-commit from colleges,’’ Kelly said. “It’s off the books, under the table, whatever you want to call it. If your dad is a fisherman, an out-of-work machinist, or a farmer, and a CHL program comes along and offers you $300,000 in cash, it’s tough for these families not to accept that type of proposal.’’
It will be very interesting to see where this story ends up - Chris Peters of the United States of hookey has a good run down of the situation.
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Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Farwell 'NCAA has been similarly accused of making it attractive financially to keep these players playing in their system'


To tonight while I was riding my bike and I was listening to the Pipeline show on Team 1260 A.M. out of Edmonton, Alberta .

The hosts Guy Flaming and Dean Millard had on Mike Farwell who is a radio analyst for Kitchener Rangers hockey team and works for  570 A.M. News. Farwell is also a sports anchor on the Sportsnet 590 A.M. The Fan out of Toronto, Ontario.  

You can listen to the show in question by clicking on this link or you can download the show on iTunes store.

Guy asked Mike Farwell about the various allegations surrounding the CHL and if there is any truth to some of these rumors.  The response to the question was quite interesting.

“In my personal opinion and I am heading into my thirteenth season in this league,” Farwell said. “Where there is smoke there is fire and we hear unfortunately about these types of situations far too often. “

“You listed some of the power houses but again; I don’t want to get into a naming of names and who said what and he said – she said sort of thing again. It’s not too hard if want to just Google it you can find the members clubs across the entire 62 team Canadian Hockey League that have been accused of these things before.”

Then Farwell dropped this little throw away nugget out there, “having said that, the NCAA has been similarly accused of making it attractive financially to keep these players playing in their system, despite that fact that it goes against their rules and regulations as well.”

“I want to make that abundantly clear we hear this so often, you have to ask what is going on.  To me this is really the elephant in the room for the Canadian Hockey League and its incumbent on the league to do something.” 

Wait, What? I was disappointed that the hosts didn’t dig a little further and ask for clarification from Farwell, he also gave no specific example of what he was referring to.

College is pretty regulated and there just isn’t a lot of dirty under the table stuff going on in college hockey. When is the last time a team in the NCAA hockey was given the death penalty for improprieties? You don't have the violations in college hockey that happen in NCAA Division I Basketball and Football. If you don't think the NCAA is looking up North Dakota, Minnesota, Michigan, Boston College and Denver's rear ends you're highly mistaken.

This is also not the first time I have heard Major Junior Hockey Fans make the charge that NCAA hockey has questionable recruiting practices. Really! There has not been a lot in the recent past and there has only been six NCAA violations since 1974 according to Joe Meloni of the College Hockey News. 


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More from the Kitchener Rangers suing the Michigan Daily

Personally, I think it’s funny that the all mighty Kitchener Rangers of the OHL are suing the University of Michigan student newspaper – in Canada no doubt. Like Chris Peters of the United States of Hockey said on twitter yesterday this is probably all optics for now. I agree with Peters' assessment. I am not sure how a Canadian court is going to get "The Michigan Daily" to comply with their rulings if they found liable?
Sunaya Sapurji, Yahoo Sports --- The long, bitter and ongoing feud between the Canadian Hockey League and NCAA hockey took an interesting twist when the Kitchener Rangers announced they had made good on a previous threat to sue The Michigan Daily.

According to Kitchener’s chief operating officer Steve Bienkowski, the Ontario Hockey League team has filed a statement of claim in a Kitchener, Ont., court against The Daily – the University of Michigan’s student newspaper – and to reporter Matt Slovin. The issued claim is expected to be served on Wednesday morning.

The lawsuit stems from a report the newspaper published last Tuesday, which quoted an anonymous OHL source, who alleged the Rangers had offered standout defenceman Jacob Trouba, a Wolverines commit, $200,000 in lieu of an education package to play for Kitchener this season. Such a payment would contravene the OHL’s rules in regards to impermissible benefits.

Ryder Gilliland, the lawyer representing the Rangers in their suit, said the team is seeking $1 million in damages – $500,000 in general damages and another $500,000 in punitive damages. Once the official claim is processed, the newspaper and Slovin have 40 days in which to defend that claim because they are located in the United States.

“We’re actually not making any comment at this time,” said Jacob Axelrad, the editor-in-chief of The Daily.
Although I am not a lawyer by any stretch of the imagination – I think it’s going to be very hard to prove liable in this case. This also isn’t the first time that the Rangers have been accused of shenanigans either.
Three years ago Notre Dame coach Jeff Jackson accused the Rangers of trying to pay off blueliner Cam Fowler, who was slated to play for Jackson's squad. [RANGERS REPORT]
I don’t recall the Rangers suing Jeff Jackson. So does that mean that they don’t dispute the Jackson claims? As of right now the story is still on "the Michigan Daily web site.
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Tuesday, July 03, 2012

Jacob Trouba will attend the University of Michigan

The big story to emerge the past couple of days was that Jacob Trouba was offered 200,000.00 to de-commit from the University of Michigan and play for the Kitchener Rangers who drafted him in the third round of the OHL's 2010 draft. The story cause quite a stir and has since been refuted by Trouba’s family.
Matt Slovin, The Michigan Daily --- "Statement from the Trouba family: 'We have the utmost respect for the Kitchener Rangers and those that choose the CHL as an option ... but Jacob will be attending the University of Michigan next fall as a student athlete.'
Good for the Michigan Wolverines that they aren’t going to lose their 22nd recruit to the CHL, but I get the feeling that more is going to emerge from this story eventually.
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Friday, May 25, 2012

Vladislav Namestnikov's questionable hit on Klarc Wilson


This past week the the CHL's MasterCard Memorial Cup has been on the NHL Network and I have watched a good share of the games. There has been some good hockey played and there has been some physical games as well.

Here is the video of a hit that took place during Wednesday's game. London Knight's forward Vladislav Namestnikov absolutely steam rolls Edmonton Oil Kings’forward Klarc Wilson.

There were some that thought the hit was predatory and questionable - incidentally the CHL decided not to give the London Knights star forward Vladislav Namestnikov any supplemental discipline for this hit on Edmonton Oil Kings’ Klarc Wilson.

What do you think of this hit? Is it dirty or a good check. It appears that Namestnikov does leave his feet to make the hit.
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Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Hakstol says college teams at disadvantage in recruiting wars with CHL

Canadian Hockey LeagueImage via WikipediaIf you haven't read this blog post by Roman Augustoviz, it's worth a look... Whether we want to admit it or not UND head coach Dave Hakstol is right, the NCAA teams have their hands tied behind their back and they are at a serious disadvantage when it comes to recruiting battles for the top blue chip recruits with the Canadian Hockey League teams.
Roman Augustoviz, The Roman Emprie --- Even though it was Minnesota week in Fargo [Grand Forks, ND], Hakstol spend a good deal of time talking about recruiting to the several hundred people at the luncheon. And he appears ready to lead a coaches' charge to weaken the CHL's ability to keep recruiting signed players.

"We lost a recruit this week," Hakstol said. "I don't want to talk about the young man and the family. I don't think that is a classy thing to do. Those things remain where they belong, and that is behind closed doors.

"We lost a pretty good potential player to our program. We lost one last summer as well. My mentality right now -- there is a good recruiting battle. It is fun when you get into recruiting battles with Wisconsin, Boston College, Michigan, with Duluth, with Minnesota.

"You go into those things and you are fully armed with the things you do well. And you can tell your story. Kids make good decisions after they take time to find the right spot for them.

"Now we have a second recruiting battle with the CHL," Hakstol said. "We are going in with our hands absolutely tied behind our backs. It's a one-way battle. We are not able to go up and recruit those players. [If] the CHL can get a young man to play one game or not even to play a game, just sign a contract. That player can no longer play college hockey.
Just to clear one point up, incase anyone is wondering  J.T. Miller and Stefan Matteau are both American players and played on the USA Under 18 USDT. Also, J.T. Miller was on the last USA WJC team.
The CHL vs. NCAA recruiting battle hasn't affected the Gophers much. They don't recruit Canadian players as much as UND does.
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Saturday, November 12, 2011

Ugly stick swinging incident in the OHL


Wow! This was an ugly incident that took place in the OHL last night. How long of a suspension do you think the London Knights Ryan Rupert gets for his slash on Nick Cousins? s/t Neate Sager
Ryan Pyette, The London Free Press --- As time expired on the 'Hounds' 4-3 victory over the Canadian Hockey League's top-ranked team before 9,046 Friday night at the John Labatt Centre, Sault Ste. Marie's pesky forward Nick Cousins taunted the Knights, earning a retaliatory slash from Ryan Rupert.

That triggered a series of end-of-game fights, serious bad blood and sets the stage for the Knights' final two regular season games against the 'Hounds - both in January in Sault Ste. Marie.

Cousins received a misconduct for inciting and Rupert received a major penalty for his slash.

There are suspensions in store for the multiple scraps. Both teams stayed on the ice surface an additional five minutes after the final buzzer as a full-scale brawl threatened to break out.
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Monday, September 05, 2011

CHL vs the NCAA, is there money changing hands

Ontario Hockey LeagueImage via WikipediaAfter reading this article a few times in the past week then going back and re-reading the quotes from Paul Kelly earlier this summer, “As much as the CHL denies it, there are still instances where money is being paid to the family to lure kids away and de-commit from colleges." Those comments Paul Kelly that some have deemed controversial by many have been followed up with these comments.
Craig Custance; Sporting News --- “The amount of money under the table in those leagues is rampant,” said RPI coach Seth Appert, who just ended his term as president of the American Hockey College Association. “That’s against NCAA rules, no matter how we slice it.”

Said Berenson: “I know some kids have been paid, there’s no question about that. I can’t tell you what the OHL allows or what they don’t allow. I know some kids that have been paid.”

In a conversation with Sporting News, one player weighing the decision confirmed he’d been offered a significant financial package to play in Canada, saying it’s not an easy thing to turn down.

“Everybody has their price,” he said.

It’s not a new accusation. Kelly has been publicly vocal in his belief that elite players are getting six-figure payments to lure them away from the NCAA. And, Kelly contends, it’s for more than just education.

Kelly shared a conversation he had with a player who broke a college commitment last summer to play in Quebec. Kelly asked him why he did it.

“He said because ‘they wrote me a check for $100,000 and I’m going to go out and buy a new car,’ ” Kelly said. “This kid never had any education anywhere in his radar.”
With all that happened this summer, I have to wonder if I am the only one from the Fighting Sioux fan base that thought this? Why J.T. Miller all of a sudden de-commit from the Fighting Sioux to sign with the Plymouth Whalers? Did the Plymouth Whalers offer J.T. Miller something to change his mind and go play for the Whalers instead of the Sioux? Miller really hasn't talked about his de-commitment from the Fighting Sioux.I think it's a legitimate question that needs to be explored more.
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Tuesday, August 30, 2011

More on the CHL vs NCAA...

Zach Parise, the United States during the 2010...Image via WikipediaIt looks like the CHL versus the NCAA is an issue that is not going to go away any time soon. I think one of the reasons the NCAA is losing to the CHL is the NCAA is hand cuffing recruiting rules by not allowing a college hockey coach to talk to a prospective recruit until that recruit has finished his sophomore year of school and after June 15th.

The CHL on the other hand doesn't have to worry about that rule. So by the time the NCAA coaches have talked to the kid the CHL might have already had a chance to convince them to go the CHL route.  
Craig Custance; Sporting News --- To slow the trend, college coaches hired former NHLPA executive director Paul Kelly nearly two years ago. As the head of College Hockey, Inc., Kelly has hit the road to educate teenagers, like those in Ann Arbor, on the virtues of playing college hockey. His case is as strong as any major junior franchise.

Colleges also consistently develop NHL players, like Zach Parise (two years at North Dakota), Tim Thomas (four years at Vermont) and Jonathan Toews (two years at North Dakota). For the great majority of young players who never see the NHL, it gives them the backup plan of a college education, often at elite American universities. A degree from Harvard eases the pain of falling short on NHL dreams.

A lighter playing schedule also means college hockey players often have more time to devote to the gym.

Pittsburgh Penguins coach Dan Bylsma -- who spent four years at Bowling Green -- said he can usually distinguish the players who arrive via college.

“In a word, maturity. On-the-ice maturity,” Bylsma told Sporting News. “You get a player that’s had longer to develop physically and mentally.”
It's not my intention to slam the CHL and I am a big fan of both development routes. In the past both the NCAA and the CHL have proved to be successful routes for prospects that want to play in the NHL. I must admit that it's nice to see a NHL head coach plug the NCAA route.
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Monday, August 08, 2011

Can we all get along?

I have been at home today not feeling well and have been reading some of the blog posts as they respond to this comments from College Hockey Inc. executive director Paul Kelly apparently Kelly started the proverbial crap storm with this zinger that appeared in the Boston Globe.
Fluto Shinzawa; Boston Globe --- There isn't an overriding reason why future collegians are opting out of the classroom. It could be academics. It might be heat from NHL personnel who believe junior is the preferred route over college. Money could also be a factor.

"As much as the CHL denies it, there are still instances where money is being paid to the family to lure kids away and de-commit from colleges," Kelly said. "It's off the books, under the table, whatever you want to call it. If your dad is a fisherman, an out-of-work machinist, or a farmer, and a CHL program comes along and offers you $300,000 in cash, it's tough for these families not to accept that type of proposal."

One solution might be a first-year grace period. For example, a collegian would be off limits from NHL or CHL contact for his freshman year. If he believes that college isn't for him after one year, then he'd be free to consider other options. (Boston Globe)
Jess Rubenstein from Prospect Park countered with this zinger of his own... Seriously, you have to give Jess credit, historically there has been a lot of issues with Division I college sports, as we have seen this year, some sports are ripe with corruption, cough, cough, cough Ohio State University football... So maybe the NCAA needs to be careful and to not throw stones while living in the proverbial glass house.
See we hear this accusation on almost every single occasion when Paul Kelly speaks but we are still waiting to see some actual proof. In the meantime, it is rather funny to hear someone representing NCAA hockey crying about under the table money when in NCAA basketball as well as NCAA football have a couple of highly ranked programs (like the school right down the road from us Oregon) find themselves under investigation for possibly paying for football recruits.
Here is what Buzzing the Net had to say in response to Paul Kelly's comments. Obviously Neate Sager is pro CHL/junior hockey but he does bring up some good points as well, in a nut shell he is right, bad mouthing the CHL does nothing for Division I Hockey's cause.
No doubt this has been said before on BTN, but the endless blame game doesn't really serve College Hockey, Inc.'s cause. That's not meant to let anyone in junior hockey off the hook, but let's be realistic and admit recruiting is cutthroat. My understanding of Kelly's organization, though, is that its main aims are to advise NCAA Division I schools interested in icing a hockey program and promote college hockey as a viable option for potential recruits. Both are worth fighting for; more major colleges competing in hockey would increase opportunities for both male and female players. As far as talking up the NCAA to young players, some in the CHL do not like the incursions on to their turf, but younger players and their families should have all the information before choosing which track...
Those are each nobler goals than fulminating about not having a few NHL first-round picks in school for a year or two. It's just a lot less sexier for the media
The Wisconsin Badgers' Beat writer Andy Baggot from Madison.com had this interesting quote from Badgers head hockey coach Mike Eaves, in reading that quote one can make the inference/argument that the NCAA route is just as successful for developing NHL hockey players as the CHL, especially if you're not a first round draft choice and end up being a late bloomer.
CHL teams work the same talent pools as colleges, billing themselves as the fastest route to the NHL. In some cases that's true, in part because Major Junior clubs play longer, pro-style schedules and are the preferred developmental sites for some NHL organizations.

Yet, as Eaves and his college peers are quick to point out, NHL rosters currently have the same percentage of talent from colleges, Major Junior and European leagues.

"The difference between Major Junior and college is that 66 percent of kids that play Major Junior don't make (the NHL)," Eaves said. "What do they have left?
Probably one point that some people might be missing is maybe Division I hockey needs to have the right people promoting the game of college hockey. Maybe the messenger needs to change, it's something that Division I hockey might want to look at, maybe we need to have more people Mike Eaves promoting the college game.

Where do we go from here?

I have to admit that I don't like to see potential college hockey players defecting to the CHL, no one does, but it's been happening for a very long time and there is really no way to stopping it from happening. The coaches can't be with their recruits during the off season. Let's be real, the CHL has no incentive to stop recruiting players that are already committed to Division I programs, why should they? Some of these kids are going to change their mind and go the Major Junior route no matter what, maybe in retrospect Division I hockey should concentrate more on the players that are staying in college and worry less about the players that are leaving.

Don't let the door hit you in the...

Take J.T. Miller for example, my favorite team the UND Fighting Sioux while it hurts losing Miller, the Fighting Sioux are going to be fine without him, like some Sioux fans including myself said, screw him!!! Miller is one player and the Fighting Sioux still have a great class of committed incoming freshman, no one player is above the program.  UND head coach Dave Hakstol is a team orientated coach and is not afraid to sit a player if his attitude needs adjusting, no matter what his press clipping read. 

I believe that NCAA Division I college hockey just has to do a better job of promoting the game to potential hockey recruits. I also can't fault J.T. Miller from signing and cashing in on a 92,000 signing bonus as well, that's a lot of money and I might sign if I was standing in his shoes as well. With the news of NBC showing Division I hockey on television, that could possibly sway some kids from staying in college, or maybe not but it's a start.

I am a realist and know that Division I college hockey is not for every hockey player, every situation is different. It's hard to go to college and be a student athlete, some of the schools in Division I hockey are very hard to get into and their class work is also very difficult. One side of the argument is; If a player knows that he could be in the NHL in a season or two why would he potentially want to go to school and do a bunch of studying and home work? As a former Division II football player I know that balancing school work and athletics is very difficult and time consuming and doesn't leave you a lot of time for socializing if your serious about your schooling and are taking a bunch of difficult classes.

I also don't know if NCAA hockey can compete mano a mano with the CHL, NCAA Division I hockey is going to lose some of the battles because the CHL is going to serve as a faster pathway than the NCAA for some players... Also, do we want to see a bunch of one and or two and done players in Division I hockey?
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Colleges being forced to play shorthanded

Goalie Tim Thomas, NHL Hockey player for the B...Image via WikipediaHere is a really good article from the Boston Globe on the college hockey defections to the CHL that have taken place this summer.

Let's not kid ourselves, it's definitely been a very rough summer for Division I college hockey, however, after it's all said and done, college hockey will still be a very good route to take to the NHL for many American and Canadian hockey players. 
Fluto Shinzawa; Boston Globe --- Traditionally, and for the foreseeable future, major junior is the route most often taken to the NHL. Of the 20 Bruins who played in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final, 16 starred in the Western Hockey League, Ontario Hockey League, or Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, the three leagues that operate under the Canadian Hockey League umbrella. Three played juniors in Europe. Just one chose college.

That said, those four seasons at the University of Vermont served Tim Thomas well.

There is no right or wrong way to graduate to the NHL. Proponents of major junior and college have their respective arguments as to why their approaches are preferable.

An OHL player will have a game-heavy schedule that mimics what he’ll experience in the NHL. A Hockey East player will enjoy a well-rounded atmosphere - attending classes, meeting people outside of the rink, a rich social life - that will help him transition to adulthood.

So those on either side have nothing to carp about when a kid says yes to one and no to the other. But what’s irking Kelly, coaches, and the NCAA is when a player commits to college hockey, then pushes the reset button and bolts for a junior team.

While that player, his family, and his new club move on, his former college coach suddenly has a hole on his roster. Late in the game, at that.
[Read the rest of the article here]
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Wednesday, July 27, 2011

So it's UND's fault?

Ontario Hockey LeagueImage via WikipediaSo if you believe Chris from Western College Hockey the problems facing college hockey right now is all UND's fault. I would have to say, not hardly...I just hope there aren't any black helicopters landing in Chris' back yard.
A big part of the problem is that college hockey is too busy fighting and scheming against itself these days to even worry about fighting against the CHL. Why should JT Miller or Connor Murphy think playing in the WCHA or CCHA for the next two years is worth their time when their own schools made it pretty clear that those conferences aren't good enough? Even College Hockey Inc., which was designed to help present a unified message for college hockey, has been neutralized this summer, since they work directly under college hockey's conference commissioners, and thus have had to keep fairly quiet on the current reorganization. It's another instance of North Dakota thinking they could do things better on their own, and, at least initially, being wrong, and another consequence to the sport that was apparently overlooked in the 20 minutes of planning that went into the Secondary Six.

This summer has been a strange and sad juxtaposition of two competing leagues that both wanted to get more serious about their image and their brand. In college hockey, that meant a group of teams conspiring and holding a self-congratulatory press conference to say that they were better than the rest of college hockey, and ultimately, did more to sell the virtues of some old hotel in Colorado than it did to sell the game of college hockey, while in the OHL, particularly in their western division, it meant doubling their efforts to acquire the best players available. One of those strategies seems to have really worked well. The other, not so much.
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