The USHL Strikes Back
|The USHL didn't waste any time responding to the OHL's initiative to target players too young to be contacted by NCAA programs. Friday they released a scathing rebuttal comparing college graduation rates of NCAA vs. CHL players. I think it's fair to say both sides have thrown down their gloves and are squaring off.|
The CHL has been using their scholarship program as a means of countering the development of the USHL. The problem with it, however, is that CHL players aren't in the best position to take advantage of it. Players get kicked out of the CHL nest with their education money (should they use it), and the CHL feels as though that's a success for them. In comparison, the USHL (and NAHL, lest we forget them) get kids NCAA D1 hockey scholarships. In that sense the stewardship of the player is passed on from the league to the NCAA. That's a big chunk of the USHL's argument, and they're right.
There's a multitude of problems involving the development system in the US. First off, you have the NCAA trying to regulate hockey like it regulates other sports. The problem with this is players most other college sports advance primarily through the high school pipeline (club soccer is one I'm willing to concede does not). Right now, NCAA teams can't contact players until September 1 of their junior year of high school, and that's only to mail them a recruiting packet. They can't call a player until July 1 following their senior year. The major juniors, however, are unlimited in their contact. The work-around, it seems, is to have USA Hockey and/or the USHL and NAHL contact players to extol the generic virtues of taking the USA Juniors -> NCAA path.