Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Summit turns deaf ear to NCAA

Damien Cox a sports writer with the Toronto Star has a really interesting article about the World Hockey Summit and how Paul Kelly of College Hockey Inc was snubbed World Hockey Summit.
Toronto Star --- You’ll have to forgive Paul Kelly for feeling a tad radioactive.

But then, you might feel that way, too, if you held the position that the former NHL Players’ Association boss does today, but still found yourself persona non grata at the event that bills itself as the World Hockey Summit.

Kelly, in case you didn’t know, survived the disgraceful coup d’etat at the NHLPA with his reputation intact, so much so that he was quickly snapped up by the NCAA and hired as the executive director of College Hockey Inc., the nine-month-old organization that acts as the information and marketing arm of U.S. college hockey.

Given the heated battleground that is the relationship between the NCAA and Canada’s junior hockey system, with both competing furiously for the same players, you might think Kelly would be a useful speaker at the summit.

Well, you thought wrong, and it’s not hard to guess that it was the CHL, one of the organizations behind the summit, that didn’t want him involved.

“If the summit is truly what it says it is, you’d think they’d want to hear all views,” said Kelly. “You’d think they’d welcome the chance to heard from an NCAA perspective and from someone on the front line. But for whatever reason, they didn’t want me there.”

Of late, the bodies have been flying between the NCAA and CHL, mostly one way. Last year, it was Leaf draft pick Kenny Ryan bolting Boston University at the last minute and joining the Windsor Spitfires. This summer, Habs first round pick Louis Leblanc left Harvard for the Montreal juniors, while Jerry D’Amigo bolted RPI for one of several possible destinations, including the Leafs, Toronto Marlies or Kitchener Rangers. Then, Jarred Tinordi, after committing to Notre Dame and even taking summer classes, left to play for the London Knights.

What Kelly would have told the summit, had he been invited. Is that, in his opinion, the “relentless” recruiting of players who have committed to U.S. schools by CHL teams is both unseemly and destructive to the sport. U.S. colleges are powerless to reverse the flow by luring players from Canadian major junior teams because those players have already forfeited their NCAA eligibility.

Kelly would also argue that allowing CHL teams to draft players as young as 14 is forcing the NCAA to find ways to recruit at ever younger ages, as well. Again, not particularly good for the game.
Even if the NCAA and CHL were to sit down and talk, the NCAA really has nothing to bargain with. The CHL can steal the NCAA hockey players and the NCAA Hockey can’t steal the CHL’s players because the NCAA incorrectly considers CHL hockey players to be professionals. Seriously, If I was on the NCAA oversight committee, I would lobby to have that rule to not allow CHL hockey players to play in the NCAA would be the first thing that I would change, it’s a stupid rule.
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