Showing posts with label OHL. Show all posts
Showing posts with label OHL. Show all posts

Monday, July 18, 2016

Jack Roslovic Signs with the Winnipeg Jets

The Miami University RedHawks will be minus another top player. Monday, 19-year-old forward Jack Roslovic signed a three-year, entry-level deal with the Winnipeg Jets. Roslovic was drafted 25th overall in the 2015 NHL Entry Draft. More than likely, during the 2016-17 season, Roslovic will play with the London Knights of the OHL.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Connor McDavid's Awesome Goal

Wow! I guess you could say that Connor McDavid of the Erie Otters has filthy mitts as well. This is McDavid's goal against the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds. The Otters are playing the Greyhounds in the OHL conference finals.

Tuesday, September 02, 2014

OHL Looks to Curtail Staged Fights

The OHL posted these rules on it's web site recently. The junior league is trying to curtail and cut down on the number of staged fights and head shots. Okay, that new rule sounds really good, but how does an official determine if a fight is staged or not? Except for the staged fights that take place off a faceoff, it's going to be hard determine what's a staged fight.
On-Ice Player Safety Initiatives

•The OHL will be augmenting the current staged fight rule whereby players receive an automatic game misconduct for a fight occurring immediately following the drop of the puck at the commencement of a period or game. Such rule has been expanded so as to include a fight which occurs immediately following any faceoff during the game. Should a staged fight occur, the player(s) involved shall each receive a game misconduct in addition to the major penalty and any other penalties assessed.

•If a player receives a third game misconduct during the season for a combination of any 5 minute major and game misconduct penalties for checking to the head, checking from behind, boarding, kneeing and clipping, for which suspensions have not previously been applied, he shall receive an automatic one (1) game suspension. For each subsequent game misconduct, the suspension shall be increased accordingly.

•If a player receives a third minor penalty for instigating during the season, he shall receive an automatic one (1) game suspension. For each subsequent instigating minor penalty, the suspension shall be increased accordingly.

•The number of fighting majors that a player can receive in a game before a game misconduct is assessed shall be reduced from three (3) to two (2).

•If a player receives a fourth minor penalty during the regular season in any one of the following categories, ie., checking from behind, checking to the head, kneeing, clipping or boarding, he shall receive a one (1) game suspension. For each subsequent minor penalty in any of the particular categories, the suspension shall be increased accordingly.

•Each OHL Member Team shall have a threshold of three (3) major penalties for fighting during each game. A disciplinary fine shall be assessed for each team exceeding such threshold.

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.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Gabe Guertler leaves Minnesota for the OHL

Would be sophomore forward Gabe Guertler has left the University of Minnesota Hockey team for the Soo Greyhounds of the OHL. In 24 games with the Gophers, the Plantation, Florida native scored (2g-3a—5pts).

Last September, Guertler was arrested for driving will impaired, while operating his moped, by the University of Minnesota Police Department. Because of this incident, Guertler was suspended for by the Gophers coaching staff and didn’t play his first collegiate game until the November 8, 2014, game against Notre Dame. This is the second players in two season to leave Minnesota for the CHL.

EDIT: Per Jason Gonzalez of the Startribune, A tumultuous first year likely didn’t help in determining how Guertler fit into the Gophers’ future plans and he was given the option to take a release. That has dismissal  written all over it.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Former Bruin Ken Belanger doesn’t like the OHL new fight rule

Boston Bruins and Ottawa 657's tough guy Ken Belanger is also not a fan of the OHL’s knew fighting rule. I also think that it's just a matter of time before more current and former players come out against this ridiculous rule.

Belanger thinks that the new rule might actually increase acts of violence. I agree with his assessment. You're going to have players that aren't going to be afraid to commit questionable acts on the ice because they will have no fear of retribution.
Jeffrey Ougler, Sault Star --- “(Hockey’s) a game of emotion, it’s a game of teamwork, it’s a game of guys protecting guys, watching each other’s backs, guys stepping up to each other if someone does a dirty hit ... It’s a game of accountability,” he said, adding NHL instigator rules have only seen concussions increase, “respect rates” diminish and “head shots” hike.

In 1992, the league ushered in the controversial “instigator” rule, which adds an additional two-minute minor penalty to the player who starts a fight.

“But I really think there will be an issue when a guy can’t stand up for a teammate,” Belanger said.

“If someone hammers a goalie, that’s OK now because, guess what, my excuse is I can’t do anything to the guy because I don’t want to get suspended.

“So now, is there accountability for anybody?”

In other words, what you might see now are some players thinking they can, perhaps, high-stick or do other dirty deeds with impunity — violations that would have earlier landed them a crack in the jaw.

“(The new rules are) not going to eliminate head shots and guys getting into fights, because, guess what, if your top-line players aren’t going to be getting into fights, they’re going to be running around, and now you’ve got your small guys who don’t have to worry about fighting,” he added.
I don't like this new rules one bit, because I am afraid that some genius in the NHL is going to come up with the idea that this 10 fight rule -- or a rule similar to this one needs to be enacted in the NHL as well. I think it's a slipper slope that we don't want to go down - if the NHL went to a rule like this the "rats" would flourish in the NHL.

If you don't know what I mean by "Rats" -- think of the players that you despise the most -- these are the players like Matt Cooke, Raffi Torres or other players like them that skate around and head hunt the opposition. NHL tough guys are the ones that keep these players in check.
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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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Friday, September 21, 2012

USHL to concentrate on player safety

It appears, that United State Hockey League which is USA Hockey’s elite Tier I junior hockey, is going to take a proactive approach to address player safety starting this season.

Earlier this week, we learned that the OHL was going to limit the number of fights a player is involved in.
USHL Press Release
The League has specified a number of what it terms “dangerous play” minor penalties (ie: elbowing, head contact, kneeing), which it will monitor and review together with all major penalties – both fighting and non-fighting – throughout the course of the season.  Players accumulating multiple penalties will be notified and addressed by the Commissioner’s office with an eye toward early intervention and education, and multiple penalties in any category will be subject to supplementary discipline.

“We take our position as USA Hockey’s Tier I League very seriously,” said USHL President and Commissioner Skip Prince.  “We’ve been concerned by the increase in injuries and lost games by our players over the past several seasons, and this is a comprehensive effort to see what we can do to address the problem.  We recognize our responsibility to deliver the world’s best young players to the next level – the NCAA and the NHL – faster, stronger, smarter, and more skilled than ever before.  But we also need to make sure they’re in top health and physical condition, and fully aware that as the next generation’s guardians of the game, they have a responsibility to hockey and to each other.   Our mission is to keep every ounce of the aggressive, all-out style of play for which the USHL is so well-known, while tuning down some of the ‘dumb and dangerous’ play that neither benefits the game nor the elite athletes who are playing it
In reading the USHL’s press release it appears to me that the USHL is going to make a serious step in addressing on ice play of its players and is also going to address their player’s on-ice play by assigning supplementary discipline in the cases where it’s warranted.

From the outside looking in – it would appear to me that the USHL is also trying to address the play of certain types of players – in this case – it appears to me that the USHL is trying to do away with the players skate all over the ice trying to line people up for the big hit.

Don’t get me wrong, I like physical hockey and hitting, but the USHL appears to be trying to address a certain type of play and to make corrections to change on ice behavior.
More specifically, it appears to me that the USHL is attempting to do away with the players that I would classify as head hunters – these are the players that will skate across the ice to make a knock out hit and if they make contact usually results in the player on the receiving ending up with a catastrophic injury.  This would probably include the players that will target the head of an opposition player in a vulnerable position.

If your confused why type of player I am talking about, think of NHL players like Raffie Torres or a Matt Cooke.  These two are the poster boys of the type of player that I am thinking of.

I believe that this is going to be a good start to improving player safety – I think this also a good indication that hockey is beginning to move away from the one dimensional players that skate up and down the ice taking liberties with the opposition. Also, it appears that USHL is going to go even further than the OHL, because it appears that the USHL is going to try and educate the players as well as discipline the offenders.

Lastly, I also think that the hockey in most leagues is trying to do away with the one dimensional players that play two-four minutes a game and get into a fight or two. I do believe the player of the future is a player is going to be one that can score 20-30 goals and get in 10-15 fights a year – NHL players like Milan Lucic or Scott Hartnell come to mind.

Originally 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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Thursday, September 06, 2012

Defenseman Thomas Welsh de-commits from Penn State

I reached out to Mike Welsh a person that I had interviewed via email last September when his son Thomas committed to play hockey at Penn State. Thomas has since de-committed from PSU. I again, had a conversation with Mike Via email.

It’s nice to talk to you again Mike.  It’s been almost a year since we last chatted.

Q: Your son Thomas Welsh who is a highly sought after recruit recently de-committed from Penn State University this past week and I was wondering if NCAA Hockey is still in the future for Thomas? 

Mike Welsh: Having Thomas gain the experience academically and by continuing his development in hockey by being at an NCAA Division 1 school, was the driving force on why he left Canada before his minor midget draft year.  We felt that if Thomas was in the USA at a prep school that this would send a very clear message to the NCAA that this is a "kid" that really wants to play school hockey.

Decommitting was not something that Thomas – nor us as a family every considered once a decision with PSU was made.   We as a family took our time when we decided on PSU.   As we have stated before Div 1 hockey has so much to offer....  However, one cannot deny the CHL has many benefits as well, its an individual decision that families must make.  Either option can by the right choice.

Q: Was the scandal at Penn State University a factor in the decision to de-commit Penn State University?

Mike Welsh: Absolutely not, PSU University is a very fine institution.

Q: If he’s still considering College Hockey are there any particular schools that he might be interested in? 

Mike Welsh: Thomas will need to explore his options and will have to make a decision based upon due diligence.

Q: I read on a blog that your son’s rights were trade from Sarnia to Mississauga. Is the CHL still an option as well?

Mike Welsh: Thomas was initially drafted by Sarnia in 2011 but was recently traded to the Steelheads this spring (2012).  There has been some discussion with the Steelheads but that is as far as it goes.  Thomas will need to explore other DIv 1 schools.

Q: Has Thomas looked into any schools out west or are there any schools that have shown an interest as well?

Mike Welsh:  The recruiting process for Thomas will need to be "restarted", when he committed to PSU for 2013, he sent a message to other schools that this was his choice.    He will need to restart this process.   The NCAA has particular rules on recruiting and those rules need to be adhered to so that the eligibility for a player remains intact.

Q: I see that Thomas is playing with the OJHL's Georgetown Raiders…

Mike Welsh:  Thomas is playing for the Georgetown Raider Jr A team this year.  It was a family decision for him to return due to some health issues with me.  He recently played in the Team Canada East Evaluation Camp and in the Burlington Cougar Tournament and I provided a link for you.  [click to view]

This is from the Thank You Terry PSU Blog.
 2013 defense commit Thomas Welsh was at a Team Canada East selection camp over the weekend as part of the buildup to choosing who will wear the maple leaf at the World Junior A Challenge in November. Welsh received sound marks for his performance from at least one scout, as he ultimately seeks to join PSU freshmen Curtis Loik and Luke Juha in earning a WJAC gold medal.
So all's great, right? Wrong.

[Mississauga Steelheads GM James] Boyd was there not only scouting the talent. But also his talent. D-Man Thomas Welsh. 95 birthday.

The Steelheads acquired Welsh's draft rights from Sarnia (who initially selected the Toronto native in the fifth round in 2011) back on June 1st. So it certainly seems as if all signs point to the OHL club making a strong push for a guy who qualifies as one of Guy Gadowsky's better recruits to date.

For now, the plan is for Welsh to join the OJHL's Georgetown Raiders this season after playing previously for New England prep powerhouse Salisbury School. But stay tuned.

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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Monday, August 13, 2012

More on the Spitfires and the OHL.

Last Friday, we found out that the OHL has thrown everything but the kitchen sink at the Windsor Spitfires. While the sanctions appear to have been unprecedented the GM of the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds says that the Spitfires will be able to survive their punishment.
Jim Parker, Windsor Star --- One former OHL general manager feels the Spitfires will survive the unprecedented ruling.

“It sets the program back, but they are smart, good hockey guys and will navigate to have a competitive team,” said Dave Torrie, who was general manager of the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds for eight seasons. “Whether they can turn competitive into a championship, that will be the real challenge and it’ll be tough.”

Torrie said the loss of the draft picks, especially the first-round selections, will have an impact on the team’s on-ice product.

“The draft is the No. 1 fundamental way to build a team,” said Torrie, who is now an amateur scout for the Buffalo Sabres. “If you go back to Windsor’s two championships, they were built around two great drafts and to a point built them into an elite program.”

Windsor drafted Greg Nemisz seventh overall in 2006 and Taylor Hall second overall in 2007. Both went on to be first-round NHL picks and those drafts were augmented in later rounds with the addition of Adam Henrique, Mark Cundari, Matt Hackett, Eric Wellwood, Ryan Ellis, Jesse Blacker, Garrett Wilson, Andrew Yogan and Kenny Ryan.

“The thing that hinders is not having first-round picks and getting a Taylor Hall,” Torrie said. “The next three, four, five or six years, not having those picks will make it hard to build a championship team.”
So with the Windsor Spitfires getting sanctioned by the OHL – other teams in the OHL wonder who is next? Who is the hammer going to fall on next? NCAA fans are waiting to see how this plays out. I know that some in the UND hockey fans and a certain Michigan student newspaper are probably hoping that the Kitchener Rangers get a look as well.

Edit: According to Chris Dilks the Kitchener Rangers have been cleared in the Jacob Trouba case. Of course they have because no actual money ever changed hands and Trouba is going to honor his commitment to Michigan.
Patrick King, Sports Net --- The league’s policy has been made clear to member teams, but it had previously been viewed as somewhat similar to a soft salary cap. Teams were able to circumvent some rules and, as one source noted to on Friday, "everybody was doing it."

Until the exact circumstances are known in regards to Windsor’s violations, every team is wondering if they could be facing similar sanctions. One source noted there were approximately a handful of other investigations ongoing and Friday’s ruling could simply be the tip of the iceberg.

It’s no secret there is a disparity between the haves and the have-not’s in junior hockey. It doesn’t always come down to drafting the best players because the best players aren’t always willing to play in every situation.
Apparently, the NCAA and College Hockey Incorporated are remaining quite about the recent revelations that took place in Windsor this past week. In my opinion, I don’t know if a comment is needed. I am also not sure what College Hockey Incorporated is supposed to do - I am sure they are watching the situation closely but there no need to make comments until this thing plays out. What are they going to say? See I told you so. Like the article linked above there may be a few more shoes to drop in this case.
Bob Duff, The Windsor Star --- As the hockey world still tries to wrap its collective psyche around the stunning punishment meted out Friday to the Windsor Spitfires by Ontario Hockey League commissioner Dave Branch for violations of the league’s recruitment and benefits policies, those in the U.S. college hockey fraternity, who for years have suggested that major junior clubs were skirting the rules in order to poach players bound for NCAA schools, are opting to take the high road.

The Spitfires were fined $400,000 and docked five draft picks – three first-round choices and two second-round selections between 2013-2017.

Perhaps in private, U.S. college hockey people are doing cartwheels of delight, but for public consumption, they’ve opted to hit the mute button.

“I think it’s best that we respectfully decline comment on this topic, rather say something that’ll get the rest of the OHL mad at us,” said Nate Ewell, executive director of College Hockey Inc., a marketing arm working with the NCAA and designed to educate kids on the merits of U.S. college hockey.

Even Paul Kelly, Ewell’s predecessor and a man who has been outspoken in his accusations that OHL teams were paying players under the table to skip out on their NCAA commitments, wasn’t about to take the bait.

“My past views on this subject are well known, but given my current role I am unable to comment further at this time,” said Kelly, who works as a partner with the law firm of Jackson Lewis LLP.
Not everyone is remaining silent on the matter – I posted a tweet last Friday from the UND hockey beat writer Brad Schlossman and If he posts something on twitter or on his blog I am going to tend to believe him. Here is a screen shot of the tweet in question that says Windsor offered UND incoming freshman Jordan Schmaltz was offered money to not go to UND – so it looks like the OHL got it right in this situation.

Check out this newspaper article from the Sault Star that is basically saying what others have been saying all along. It will be interesting to see if the OHL teams and leadership will go after this newspaper beat writer to find out who the anonymous player agent was.
Bill Montague, Sault Star --- Whether the league’s decision is upheld or not, Friday’s news is excellent news for the Soo Greyhounds and every other small-market team that simply cannot afford to pay players to play for them.

Will it stop the draft manipulation? I doubt it. Teams will still find ways to encourage players to tell other teams they are headed to the U.S., but they will definitely think twice about paying players and their parents off.

Agents will still take the leading role by brokering deals that ensure their clients get under-the-table payouts for playing in certain places. And, as one agent told me, teams will simply become more cautious and creative in their dealings. Another said it's his job to get the best deal for his clients and if that means accepting money from someone willing to dish it out, then so be it.

Still, the news can’t be anything but positive for teams like Sault Ste. Marie. Lets face it, the Soo Greyhounds, Erie Otters and Owen Sound Attack, to name a few, cannot afford to pay out the kind of money the bigger-market teams can dole out to acquire the rights to certain players.
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Friday, August 10, 2012

OHL throws book at the Windsor Spitfires

Ontario Hockey League
I guess where there is smoke there is fire eh?

[Official Press Release]

The Ontario Hockey League, (OHL), has levied fines totaling $400,000.00 against the Windsor Spitfires Hockey Club and taken away three 1st round draft selections and two 2nd round draft selections from the Spitfires.

“In 2009 the Board of Governors of the Ontario Hockey League developed the OHL ENFORCEMENT PROGRAM which is designed to address and attempt to eliminate violations of the RULES and impose appropriate penalties if violations occur. The enforcement process is an integral part of the process to ensure integrity and fair play among the MEMBER TEAMS. One of the fundamental principles of the enforcement process is to ensure that those MEMBER TEAMS that are abiding by the rules are not disadvantaged by their commitment to compliance”, stated OHL Commissioner David Branch.

“The League conducted two separate investigations led by our Director of Security and Enforcement, and in considering all the facts, I was persuaded that the Windsor Spitfires Hockey Club violated the League’s Player Benefit and Recruitment Rules and Policies. While the penalties may appear to be severe, the League and its Member Teams recognize for any such violations of our Recruitment / Benefit Rules and Policies, we must send a strong message to preserve the integrity of our League”, concluded Branch.

In addition to the fine, the Windsor Spitfires shall forfeit 1st round selections in the annual OHL Priority Selection in the years 2013, 2014, 2016, and 2nd round selections in the OHL Priority Selection Process for the years 2015 and 2017.

Update: I don't think this story is going away and here are some of the tweets of interest relating to this story. Also, Chris Peters of the United States of Hockey has a really good story on this as well. 

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Tuesday, August 07, 2012

2012 USA Hockey National Junior Evaluation Camp Final Roster

The WJC Evaluation Camp Final Roster is out and UND hockey recruit Jordan Schmaltz is not on the roster for the USA.


John Gibson, Kitchener Rangers (OHL) ANA (’11, 2nd rd., 39th overall)
Jon Gillies,. Indiana Ice (USHL) CGY (’12, 3rd rd., 75th overall)
Garret Sparks, Guelph Storm (OHL) TOR (’11, 7th rd., 190th overall)
Anthony Stolarz, Corpus Christi (NAHL) PHI (’12, 2nd rd., 45th overall)
the USA Hockey


Shayne Gostisbehere, Union College (ECACH) PHI (’12, 3rd rd., 78th overall)
Matt Grzelcyk, U.S. National Under-18 Team BOS (’12, 3rd rd., 85th overall)
Garrett Haar, Western Michigan Univ. (CCHA) WSH (’11, 7th rd., 207th overall)
Seth Jones,. National Under-18 Team 2013 Draft Eligible
Jake McCabe, Univ. of Wisconsin (WCHA) BUF (’12, 2nd rd., 44th overall)
Connor Murphy, Sarnia Sting (OHL) PHX (’11, 1st rd., 20th overall)
Mike Reilly, Penticton Vees (BCHL) CBJ (’11, 4th rd., 98th overall)
Patrick Sieloff, U.S. National Under-18 Team CGY (’12, 2nd rd., 42nd overall)
Brady Skjei, U.S. National Under-18 Team NYR (’12, 1st rd., 28th overall)
Jacob Trouba, U.S. National Under-18 Team WPG (’12, 1st rd., 9th overall)
Andrew Welinski, Green Bay Gamblers (USHL) ANA (’11, 3rd rd., 83rd overall)


Cole Bardreau, Cornell Univ. (ECACH) Free Agent
Tyler Biggs, Miami Univ. (CCHA) TOR (’11, 1st rd., 22nd overall)
Colin Blackwell, Harvard Univ. (ECACH) SJS (’11, 7th rd., 194th overall)
Reid Boucher, Sarnia Sting (OHL) NJD (’11, 4th rd., 99th overall)
Travis Boyd, Univ. of Minnesota (WCHA) WSH (’11, 7th rd., 177th overall)
Thomas Di Pauli, 5-U.S. National Under-18 Team WSH (’12, 4th rd., 100th overall)
Steve Fogarty, Penticton Vees (BCHL) NYR (’11. 3rd rd., 72nd overall)
Alex Galchenyuk, Sarnia Sting (OHL) MTL (’12, 1st rd., 3rd overall)
John Gaudreau, Boston College (HEA) CGY (’11, 4th rd., 104th overall)
Ryan Hartman, U.S. National Under-18 Team 2013 Draft Eligible
Nicolas Kerdiles, U.S. National Under-18 Team ANA (’12, 2nd rd., 36th overall)
Sean Kuraly, Indiana Ice (USHL) SJS (’11, 5th rd., 133rd overall)
Mario Lucia, Penticton Vees (BCHL) MIN (’11, 2nd rd., 60th overall)
Stefan Matteau, U.S. National Under-18 Team NJD (’12, 1st rd., 29th overall)
J.T. Miller, Plymouth Whalers (OHL) NYR (’11, 1st rd., 15th overall)
Stefan Noesen, Plymouth Whalers (OHL) OTT (’11, 1st rd., 21st overall)
Blake Pietila, Michigan Tech Univ. (WCHA) NJD (’11, 5th rd., 129th overall)
Vince Trocheck, Saginaw Spirit (OHL) FLA (’11, 3rd rd., 64th overall)
Jim Vesey, South Shore Kings (EJHL) NSH (’12, 3rd rd., 66th overall)

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Wednesday, July 11, 2012

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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Saturday, April 07, 2012

More UND bolters to CHL? (RW77)

Today the OHL held their Priority Draft. And some UND recruits are on the list.

The first two occur in the 4th round. The first was the Barrie Colts taking Brenden Lemieux with the 6th pick of the fourth round. Seven picks later, UND recruit Nick Schmaltz got selected by Windsor. There may be more, but it is unlikely (this post was written while the OHL draft was in the middle of the 10th round of 15 rounds).

What does this mean?

Hard to tell. I know very little about Barrir and Windsor's tactics. They aren't ultra agressive or perhaps even overtly Anti-NCAA like London of the OHL, Moncton of the QMJHL, or Red Deer of the WHL. However, Windsor has been pursuing Jordan Schmaltz very heavily and drafting his little brother is another tried and true tactic that has worked in the past. That being said, Jordan and Nick have both gone on record saying that they are committed to the NCAA route. I hope that is true, but with all the nefarious tactics and rumored financial incentives that have surfaced as of late, one cannot be too confident.

Of the two drafted, I think Lemieux has the highest probability of bolting for the Major Juniors. His dad went through Major Juniors (though with the QMJHL, not the OHL).

As with most cynical people, I have my predictions and what I hope. I predict the Schmaltzes show up in Grand Forks. I predict Lemieux will go the way of Matteau and go OHL.

It's too bad but it is the reality of the sport. Of course, I hope I'm wrong about Lemieux and he does skate for UND. I just won't believe it until he does. And, for the record, I believe the same will be true for uncommitted blue chipper Seth Jones.

We'll just have to wait and see... or perhaps Brad Schlossman can shed some light post draft.

EDIT: One other interesting development: UNO incoming recruit Alex Broadhurst was drafted in the 2nd round by London, a team that enjoys pressuring players away from the NCAA.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Paul Kelly on Jordan Schmaltz

Highly touted Fighting Sioux hockey recruit Jordan Schmaltz has been a hot topic of discussion lately up in Canada and on the hockey blogs. You can listen to what Paul Kelly had to say on the matter as well.
Bob McCown;  Sportsnet 590 --- "For Mr. Rychel to make some of the statements he made in his article [sic] that this player [Jordan Schmaltz] isn't exploring his options and needs to make a decision and we're going to better prepare him for the NHL more so than North Dakota is quite frankly, laughable." ... Frankly, if you go back to 2003, 2004, and compare North Dakota to Windsor Spitfires, what you will find is both programs have put 15 players into the National Hockey League over that time. But the Windsor Spitfires players in the National Hockey League have played half the number of games as have the players coming out of the University of North Dakota. The players coming out of North Dakota who include Zach Parise, Drew Stafford, Travis Zajac, Jonny Toews, Matt Greene, they've had three times the number of points ... the point is, to say North Dakota's not preparing players for the NHL, that's a joke." (Prime Time Sports)

Friday, September 30, 2011

Edit: Welsh choses NCAA over OHL

The link was broke so I updated  this post. Here is another article that I submitted for Inside Hockey.
Recently, Thomas Welsh committed to Penn State Universityand I interviewed his father Mike via email about his son’s decision to join PSU hockey. Thomas Welsh is a high end recruit from Canada that has decided to attend NCAA Division I hockey. Thomas is currently attending prep school at Salisbury inConnecticut. I think you will find the answers to be very interesting.

Q: I would like to know how you and your son arrived at this decision?

Mike Welsh: Coming off of the 2011 Provincial Ontario Bantam AAA Championship and looking towards the next year, Minor Midget, you are at a pivotal time in the Ontario Hockey System. Minor midget year is important as this is your OHL draft year and there is such a hype surrounding this time.  League teams are already structured and do not allow for player movement. Ranking amongst league teams, usually remains the same from first to third, as players have already migrated to the top teams. Player development becomes stagnant as it only comes from your team, and your son plays against and with the same players that he has played with in the league for the last 6 years. The cost of development from minor atom to bantam becomes reality, having spent close to $100,000. Finally, there is the focus that the OHL is the next and only step for elite players.

Q: There are a number of reasons we considered USA Prep School vs. Minor Midget.

Mike Welsh: When we considered hockey development, competing in Prep Varsity Hockey at the age of 15 offers an opportunity to play with and against older players up to 19 years of age. It offers a competitive loop, prepares your strength and conditioning in a controlled environment, and gives you the opportunity to experience and learn from coaches at that level. The Founder's Hockey League is constantly being watched by Div 1 schools and various levels of Pro Teams along the Eastern seaboard, not to mention that the number of Pro Players present and past along with many the of NHL coaching staff have kids in the Prep League.    As a parent, our interest is as strong for academics as hockey development. So when you look at the complete package, Prep school covers it all. It is the right path for hockey development and academic growth, but also an environment for learning life skills and independence. It offers opportunities to discover new skills, likes, and interests and to try new things. It lays a good foundation to all options that may open down the road. Salisbury Prep School has a long history of traditions, is strong academically, creates a "brother hood" atmosphere, and of course has an awesome and outstanding hockey team.

 Q: Why the NCAA over the OHL?

Mike Welsh: We met with Paul Kelly a few years back from College Hockey Inc. He made us aware of the endless possibilities that are available through Div 1 and Div 3 hockey programs for athletes. He encouraged players and parents to look long term and to look at the NCAA opportunities for their son. He covered player development, pro opportunities, education, student life, and the long standing tradition unique to each of these Div 1 schools.

The OHL has a lot to offer in terms of hockey development. It also provides educational incentives but with conditions attached. You have to make these decisions as a 16 year old and in the same summer that you are drafted, you will have to change high schools, you will not be able to do a full academic course load, and the OHL voids or limits any future scholarships through an NCAA path.

Thomas was recruited by several OHL teams and we visited their cities and met with OHL team coaches, managers, trainers, owners, and school advisers.  We did our due diligence; however, we decided to take a alternative approach. We like to think outside of the box, and instead of following the traditional path for elite players, we felt more comfortable following our own goals and timelines.

Thomas participated in the final selection for Team Ontario U16, and went to the final selection camp for Team Ontario U17 this past July in Thunder Bay.  Roster spots are to be finalized in November 2011 and the Head Coach of the team will be Troy Smith who is currently the assistant coach of the Kitchener Rangers - OHL. The feedback that has been received has been very positive and as a result we know that Thomas's hockey development is at a high level and has not been compromised with being down at the Prep school. Basically, our decision has been reinforced that our path and plan are working for us.   Central Ontario Scouting director at the time Rob Kitamura now with Tampa Bay as head scout, came to see Thomas and he acknowledge that Thomas is a AA rated player.

Q: Why PSU? Is it the excitement of playing for a newly formed Big Ten team and league? Also, Is the prospects of getting a high quality education at a school like PSU a major factor?

Mike Welsh: We were invited and visited 10 Div 1 schools (Yale, North Eastern, Boston U, Harvard,Cornell,Michigan,Quinnipiac,Vermont,Penn State, and University of Miami Ohio). When we visited Penn State in September, 2011, we stayed in the city for a couple of days. We got to see the city (HappyValley), toured the campus, went to a pre-game football pep rally, and stayed for a football exhibition game. In addition to visiting the campus and the city, we also met with the Head Coach Guy Gadowsky, and assistant coach Matt Lindsay. There was an immediate connection with the coaching staff when we discussed hockey plans, goals, academics, and sports. When Thomas looked at what PennState had to offer, he was excited about both the courses available, and the hockey opportunities. The education is high quality and the school is well recognized for many of their academic programs. We knew Thomas wanted to enter the NCAA in 2013. At Penn State this would mean that he would be a part of the inaugural year when Penn State becomes part of the Big 10 Conference. The media coverage for the Big 10 is broad, well scouted, and the excitement and buzz around the league has everyone talking. Having a chance to play in such a competitive league is an honor and reinforces the notion that hard works pays off. It also supports the idea that you do not always need to follow the common pathway. You can create your own path. It was a win-win situation all around and we have always encouraged Thomas to "think outside of the box."

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Wednesday, August 17, 2011

College Hockey re-alignment affecting recruitment?

Kitchener RangersImage via WikipediaHere is an interesting blog post that I found on Buzzing the Net about Jacob Trouba of the U.S. National Team Development Program in Ann Harbor Michigan. Trouba is considering playing either for Michigan in the NCAA and or for the Kitchener Rangers of the OHL. Sounds like the re-alignment that has taken place in college hockey this past summer “could” play a hand in where a kid decides to play.
Trouba said the changing face of NCAA hockey -- with the starting of the new National Collegiate Hockey Conference, putting some programs like Notre Dame in conference limbo -- has made his choice regarding the college route a bit more difficult.

"It's very big," said Trouba of the decision between the two paths. "School is where you're going for four years -- that's a four-year decision -- and the OHL you're not coming back (to the NCAA) if you go there. So you've really got to pick one way or the other.

"Then, you've got to live with your decision."
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