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Friday, April 13, 2007

Friday News and Rumors

The NHL invited seven USHL players this week to their draft combine next month. This is an early indication of how many can be expected to be drafted in the first three rounds of the draft, since only about 100 players attend the event. Since there's likely several future draftees who are first attending college, this needs to be considered before anyone tries to make direct comparisons to the CHL. I haven't seen the full player list yet, but it'll be interesting to see how many NCAA USHL alums are on it as well...

Port Colborne Sailors on thin ice...

I'll go ahead and address a couple rumors that have popped up in the last couple of weeks. The first involves renovations to the Texas Tornado's Deja Blue Arena, a story bouncing around the local youth hockey community. There are plans to expand the seating capacity to 5,500. The arena is hosting an indoor football team this summer, and building managers also want to get a piece of the growing Collin County graduation ceremony pie. Also, by boosting capacity to 5,500, the arena will be able to position itself to host concerts. In general, it will go from an oversized ice rink to a full service facility. I have to wonder if the plans are a preemptive strike against International Coliseums Company, who has considered building a similarly sized building in nearby Allen (and probably adding a Central Hockey League team when finished). The area doesn't need two similar sized facilities, so the StarCenter folks are heading ICC off at the pass. The real question everyone seems to be asking is "will the expansion impact the Tornado?" I don't believe so. For one thing, the expansion is not anticipated to impact any of the walls of the the arena - all the new seating will take place within the original footprint. So no, I don't see the Tornado spending a season back in Blue Line.

The other rumor involved the defection of three CHL teams to the NAHL. There appears to be some fire to this smoke, but I don't have a lot of details. There's not a lot of certainty, but it seems that the three teams that would be added to the NAHL's South Division would be the Odessa Jackalopes, Amarillo Gorillas, and the Lubbock Cotton Kings. I have several concerns with such a move. First off, attendance for all three teams have been in decline (that's a big reason why they're looking to cut costs and go juniors), and forced shifts from professional to junior hockey have never gone over well in this part of the country (see Tupelo, Tulsa, and Topeka for examples). Adding a new rival in Wichita Falls will help, but how much is hard to say. In addition, there's a decent chance Lubbock won't have a lease for next season. So while the South Division could use shoring up, at the end of the day we still don't know if it will happen. (insert pithy SWJHL comment here)

And finally... with league seasons winding down, and players hanging up the skates for the summer, here's one goalie who knows what he's doing in the off season...

Yaaaah, that's what I'm talking aboot...

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Comments on "Friday News and Rumors"


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (10:14 AM, April 13, 2007) : 

Heard the CHL to NAHL earlier this year from some CHL season ticket holders - I hope it happens. The CHL fans wanted to see what junior hockey looked like and seemed to like the Junior game. Will these franchises (assuming it happens) absorb players from defunct teams or further dilute the junior pool? It will create (in my opinion) some interesting options for players and make the southwest a cost-effective scouting area for D1 schools (if the level of play dictates the notice).


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (11:09 AM, April 13, 2007) : 

The only reason the junior pool could be called 'diluted' is in families not being able to pay ice fees and billeting. If the NAHL remains in a position to cover those costs, there are enough players available to be competitive at the Tier II level.


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (11:16 AM, April 13, 2007) : 

The CHL teams joining the NAHL is the WORST thing they could do. The NAHL needs to contract to 8-12 teams. Not expand to over 20. This league is an absolute joke now. Is this Frankenfeld's idea, hey buddy stick to something you know, pucks, not business. The league had a business guy who showed them what to do in Krupka and they cried like babies when they couldn't handle the truth, and replaced him with a "yes" man. Fact is maybe two owners in the entire league have a clue what they are doing, the rest are some of the BIGGEST idiots you will ever meet.


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (11:50 AM, April 13, 2007) : 

Does this officially announce the early start to hockey's silly season? Last year the minor pros lost the Gulls and others, and the NAHL made some serious changes. What is next?

If this level of play expands (NAHL, USHL) at the expense of the messed up minor pro system, then I do not see it as a net loss for the game. Maybe more like a market adjustment. Even with a loss of 40% of the pro fan base (and they CAN return), the change in operating expenses will result in a new gain. So, in that case, it does make sense.

Talent wise... I do not think the product will be watered down, kids PAY thousand$ to play in the EJHL, I am sure that many of them would quickly opt for a free ride in a stronger NAHL. Ultimately, the winner will be the D1 schools. They will have access to a more mature talent base, as teams in the south begin to shy away from HS players.


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (1:16 PM, April 13, 2007) : 

Do that and call the NAHL the WSHL, there aren't enough quality players and the level WILL suffer.


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (3:58 PM, April 13, 2007) : 

He's clark the Canadain hockey goalie. that right you freakin hoser hahah love it


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (6:03 PM, April 13, 2007) : 

I have personally seen the nahl become watered down with time, and have played in it. it is a joke, there is 1 good line on every team, and 2 on the good teams. A lot of ejhl players already do have theo ption to move to the nahl but don't anyway. expansion wont hurt anyone but the players and scouts. Half the kids in the league should be playing junior b.


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (3:05 PM, April 18, 2007) : 

Amarillo Gorillas are for sale on EBAY....check CHL section.


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