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Monday, June 05, 2006

Return of the Matrix

For those who haven't slogged through the USAH amendments up for vote this week a great many of the regulatory inadequacies I mentioned 17 months ago are going to be resolved. Good for the Junior Council. I wasn't going to bring it up, except a rather lengthy comment written by "Falconone" attempts to throw a bomb on my original analysis. Since the comment thread to this post is ancient via a path rarely traveled, I'll issue my response as a regular post:

Where have you been... I wrote this 17 months ago, LOL!!!

The point of the post was that USAH did a piss-poor job of writing the regs, and I had members of the Junior Council (not associated with the NAHL, I might add) admit as much to me. If a topic was left out, you MUST assume that no regulations regarding that issue exist. As an owner, you cannot require me to follow a regulation that is not documented! That many of the amendments up for approval this week were filed to resolve these inconsistencies (or "conform to current practice," to use Dave Tyler's words) suggests that the Council ultimately agreed, belatedly, with my assessment.

But I do love the Tier I sensitivity rearing it's ugly head again. Nowhere in my post do I claim the USHL is somehow an inferior league or Tier I is somehow an inferior level. Nowhere. Most of the complaints about what I wrote are along these lines. Going a different direction, Falconone attempts some largely incoherent rebuttals, made worse by the fact that it appears he didn't examine the original matrix! Falconone claims I didn't give Tier I credit for items I clearly have listed (games played, additional financial requirements, etc.), then doesn't understand that all these additional financial requirements intended to make a Tier I league more stable do not necessarily do so. How do I know this? Simple, minor leagues have the same requirements in one form or another for their teams (albeit the stakes are higher), but it does nothing to make them any more stable than juniors. Of course, "proven financial stability as a league, including each team" are just words as well, but if the language were included, it would at least be consistent.

Once again... the original regs were insufficient in some areas and clearly deficient in others. That was all I was saying. After this week, I don't expect to have to say it anymore (I'll just have T3A and the Law of Unintended Consequences to laugh at instead).

Comments on "Return of the Matrix"


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (11:19 PM, June 05, 2006) : 

Its nice to see a matrix of the major differences between the levels of junior hockey but you need to show the shortfalls in the Tier II too, not only the ones against the Tier I program. Some might think you are biased against Tier I.

Why did you not color code the lack of Tier II requirements for a business plan, no NCAA rules to maintain the player’s eligibility requirements, no IR list requirements, no International Competition requirements, no marketing/public relations plan to name a few?. The NAHL web site and the ex-commissioner do/have talked up most of them as a good thing of being in the NAHL.

Under the area for annual operating funds, Why did you code this Tier I area red? Tier II states "Each member Team will maintain a minimum of $250,000 per year...." and isn't that covered under the Tier I $5,000,000.00 net worth requirement Financial Guarantee areas?

Some of the areas you pointed out do need to be covered by ALL levels of junior hockey. A general statement like "All levels must meet or exceed the requirements of the levels below" should be also be added to the rules.


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (7:25 AM, June 06, 2006) : 

I'm fairly interested and fairly educated about Junior hockey, but it seems the whole Tier III Junior A classification is predicated solely on being able to compete for a Junior A National Championship.

Is that a fair assessment or an over-generalization?

In my experience, Junior hockey exists not to crown a champion but to further develop the cream of the crop and prepare them for the limited college roster spots, or potentially a professional career in the sport.

If a coach moves 10 players to college but loses in the first round of the league playoffs, has his season been a success? How about if he wins the Junior A national title and only moves two kids on to college? I realize this is a simplistic hypothetical situation, but it gets to the meat of the matter.

Competing for a Junior A national title will be great. It will be fun. It will make for good press. But it will not draw more scouts to the EJHL, AJHL, CSHL, MnJHL, Nor-Pac, etc., with the exception of the few teams/players that compete at nationals (if Junior A were to pass).


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (8:45 AM, June 06, 2006) : 


I believe the Law of Unintended Consequences you refer to can also be stated as Revenge Effects.....unintentional negative consequences on the status quo that change the situation they were intended to stablize.


Anonymous Falconone said ... (2:57 PM, June 06, 2006) : 

Hey Marc,

I apologize for any confusion I caused with my reply to the 17 month old blog post. I'm a little slow on the uptake anyway. I did read your "Matrix" I even printed it out as reference material LOL. I didn't read the SOURCE MATERIAL you used ie: The 2004-2005 USA Hockey Annual Guide.

As I thought I said in my post, my concern was, by leaving out how references to things such as those posted in the comments section to this post by the first "Anon" here you might be implying that Tier I regs didn't address issues of League Stability. This, in turn, left open the possibility that people could conclude that Tier I teams might be less stable than Tier II teams. There is ample evidence in your "Matrix" that Tier I teams/leagues have substantial requirements made of them that are not made of Tier II (etc.) teams/leagues. At least according to your "Matrix".

Try and understand, any 'sensitivity' one concludes from reading my post shouldn't be ascribed to a Tier I VS Tier II preference and certainly not a "my team/league" is better than "your team/league" perspective. My concern is rather, that anyone considering options that include chosing between Tier I or Tier II Junior Hockey have solid information on which they can base thier decisions.

On that I expect we can agree.

I felt, as noted earlier, that some of the distinctions Marc was making singled out a phrase in the Tier II reg's that wasn't in the Tier I reg's and he implied by singling them out that the issue wasn't being addressed by USA Hockey in the Tier I reg's. As other have noted here and as is contained in the "Matrix" there are very substantial requirements made of Tier I teams/leagues, financially, programatically and in physical plant requirements etc. that aren't made of Tier II (or lower) teams/leagues. Clearly these items address 'stability'.

A comparision to Minor League hockey is dsingenuos. The cost strucuture is different, the business model is different and the marketing plan is different.

Actually folks, I emailed Marc earlier today and he was courteous enough to reply and gave me a link to a Jan. blog entry he wrote regarding simplifying the Junior System levels. I would agree with much of what Marc posted there.

As for being wordy, Guilty! Rambling, Guilty!
As for incoherant, well that's in the eye of the reader I guess so I'll leave that to your individual conclusions should you choose to go back and read it.

Hey this is just my opinon, everyone has one.



Blogger Marc Foster said ... (4:38 PM, June 06, 2006) : 

To address the first comment in this post... I see nothing technically wrong with a lower level lacking a requirement listed at an above level. Most if not all of my comments related to technical inconsistencies. I agree, however, that regs maintaining NCAA eligibility should probably be passed down to all levels of Junior Hockey.

The second comment asks a good question about what constitutes success, using winning vs. advancing players. That's entire up to a franchise, IMHO, and I've seen coaches go to both extremes. For further reading and contemplation, I suggest this post from about a month ago about Key Performance Indicators.

And yes, Falconone and I have been having a nice little side discussion, and find we agree upon more than we disagree. I think most of our communication difficulties stem from the fact he speaks Bahstan while I speak Texan with a bit of a Yooper accent. :)


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