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Wednesday, July 18, 2007

More on Tier III A

A reliable source just placed this in my inbox:
July 16, 2007

To: Junior Council

From: Daniel Esdale

Re: T-III A Certification application summary

The following USAH T-III B Leagues have submitted documentations of the required organizational and operational requirements of T-III A as required during the junior council session of June 2007.

T-III A status is herby granted with a two (2) year probationary period to Central States Hockey League (CSHL), Minnesota Junior Hockey League (MNJHL), Northern Pacific Junior Hockey League (NORPAC), and the Western States League (WSHL) with the following provisions;

a. Following the probationary period the leagues must meet the forthcoming performance criteria.

b. Leagues are not permitted expansion at any time in any form during the probationary period.

c. Re certification process will occur for each season.
It does not mention the EJHL and AJHL, but before anyone reads too much into this, remember that they were already on probationary T3A status. My guess is they aren't listed because they are on their own status/timeline and have their own notification coming soon.

So let's examine the above provisions in the most optimistic fashion possible:

"Following the probationary period the leagues must meet the forthcoming performance criteria."

Could it be that some form of performance measurement metrics are on the horizon? Be still my beating heart! I started talking about performance metrics over a year ago, and proposed the Junior Council re-think their certification standards some 18 months before that.

"Leagues are not permitted expansion at any time in any form during the probationary period."

Given Part a, this seems reasonable, as an expansion team could have a detrimental impact to some measurements. This also forces leagues to do something seemingly foreign to them - plan. The thought process can no longer be "how do we get new teams into our league?", but instead "What are we going to do to 1) insure quality programs are brought into our league and 2) ensure their success relative to our performance measures?"

"Re certification process will occur for each season."

Seems reasonable enough, considering this is already standard fare for all leagues/levels, be it a rubber stamp or something more robust. However, I'm not sure teams can be fairly evaluated on any metrics this coming season unless those metrics are set very soon. Expectations must be communicated and understood at the beginning. It's like setting/changing the playoff format *coughWcoughScoughHcoughLcough* in the middle of the season.

Anyway, I'm optimistic. The Council still has some work to do to salvage the public perception of their T3A decision... but the forest they tread through may not be as dense and dark as it appears.

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Comments on "More on Tier III A"

 

Anonymous Jack Irons said ... (10:49 AM, July 18, 2007) : 

A reliable source told me that the EJHL originally wanted performance to be a part of the criteria. Now that Esdale's in charge, I saw this coming.

 

Anonymous Anonymous said ... (12:21 PM, July 18, 2007) : 

Will be very interesting as to how they allow Tier III A "performance" to be defined and measured.

Obvious way to do it is chart the players to move to NCAA or a higher classification of Junior hockey.

Performance criteria could help enhance the developmental pyramid, not to mention give each league and the organizations within a reason to exist instead of just offering hockey. Rink-owned Junior franchises can sometimes exist simply to serve as a customer base.

 

Blogger Pat said ... (12:39 PM, July 18, 2007) : 

I said in the comments about the original post that I hoped there was more to this deal that would be revealed at a later time. I'm cautiously optimistic about these new revelations. I have more confidence in this plan. I hope we look back in 3-5 years and see that there was a "plan" all along.

 

Anonymous Anonymous said ... (12:46 PM, July 18, 2007) : 

I think it might be one of those things that turn out well, but based in a quagmire.

Originally, the EJ and then the AJ, wanted a sort of "special A" status where they could call themselves A but still charge money. Looking back, that seems a bit ridiculous (lipstick on pig analogy). The EJ is a very good, very solid league. It sends guys to college no matter what. As it turns out, they should have been more careful about what they were askng for.

However, now it seems the whole mess may eventually shake out some long-need order in the form of performance criteria.

That is a good thing across the board. It only magnifies the difference between pay-to-play leagues and "free" leagues.

Instead of the EJ attempting to put itself on the same plane as the NAHL, it actually dropped itself to what used to be the Junior B level. Same with the AJHL.

There may be some pain for some organizations, but I'll be in three years there is a pretty sharp Junior hockey environment nationwide.

 

Anonymous Bill O'Flaherety said ... (12:50 PM, July 18, 2007) : 

plan for what? bilking parents and kids out of money, it's a scam, a sham, and bulls@^$!
T3 is brutal, a lie and a crime, usahockey shold be taken to court and sued for allowing all these fly by night (wshl, norpac) teams exist under their umbrella!

 

Anonymous Anonymous said ... (1:18 PM, July 18, 2007) : 

Marc you hit the nail on the head and probably some value in this statement
"This also forces leagues to do something seemingly foreign to them - plan."

-Ballgame

 

Anonymous Anonymous said ... (4:12 PM, July 18, 2007) : 

after reading all this -- the WHA is lookin' like the place to go!

 

Anonymous Anonymous said ... (9:15 AM, July 19, 2007) : 

"Instead of the EJ attempting to put itself on the same plane as the NAHL, it actually dropped itself to what used to be the Junior B level."

The EJHL was never a USA Hockey sanctioned Junior B league. Please double check your sources.

Prior to 2006, the EJHL was a Junior C league. Given its reputation, I believe that it will achieve the same results as a Tier III Jr. A league as it did when it had the Jr. C label.

 

Anonymous Anonymous said ... (6:06 PM, July 19, 2007) : 

WHA is more of a joke then T-3 Junior A... You must be with the Pioneers. Everyone in Canada laughs at the idea of WHA hockey.

 

Anonymous Anonymous said ... (8:22 PM, July 19, 2007) : 

Everyone in Canada is chuckling that the tier 3 A thing actually happened. The WHA thing isn't really an issue, as there have been renegade leagues come and go, some succesful some not. But for USA hockey to approve this is hilarious. The worst team in the Ontario Mid Western Jr B league would beat any tier 3 A and most NAHL teams by 5 goals.

 

Anonymous Anonymous said ... (11:17 PM, July 19, 2007) : 

Interesting comment. How would those "in the know" rank the various Canadian and American Jr. Leagues?

 

Anonymous Anonymous said ... (12:39 AM, July 20, 2007) : 

Didn't the NORPAC league already announce that Missoula would join the league? Would they be able to sneak in before the no expansion statement?

 

Anonymous Anonymous said ... (12:50 AM, July 20, 2007) : 

Looks like they have a website already:
http://www.missoulamaulers.com/

 

Anonymous Anonymous said ... (11:34 AM, July 20, 2007) : 

NORPAC added two new teams to the league before any of this was voted on. But if I'm reading Marc's entry correctly it looks like if the WHA does not pan out that the team out of Vancouver, WA will really have a dilemma. Because USAH states 'no expansions for 2 years' this means they can not come back into the NORPAC.

 

Anonymous Anonymous said ... (12:25 PM, July 20, 2007) : 

not to mention that their old head coach, gm, owner, and new head coach were all given life time bans by usa hockey

 

Anonymous Anonymous said ... (12:59 PM, July 20, 2007) : 

In regards to your comments below, most Junior hockey followers are aware that the EJ started out and remained at Jr. C until last year's "pilot project."

However, the EJHL had "B" teams underneath their C organizations. They NEVER advertised C as they did Tier III Junior A. Nowhere did you ever see, "Come join the top Junior C league in the Northeast" as an advertising slogan.

Don't think you're the only guy who can knitpick details. Stick to the main point.

The EJ, and then the AJ, pushed for Tier III Junior A because they mistakenly thought the letter would give them prestige. Forgetting that they were doing pretty good jobs already, and college coaches are really the ones who decide what league(s) they will scout.

"The EJHL was never a USA Hockey sanctioned Junior B league. Please double check your sources.

Prior to 2006, the EJHL was a Junior C league. Given its reputation, I believe that it will achieve the same results as a Tier III Jr. A league as it did when it had the Jr. C label."

 

Anonymous Anonymous said ... (8:08 AM, July 21, 2007) : 

Ft. Van got what they deserve. A league with bad surroundings and mixed up in bad allegations. Birds of a feather....

What bugs me is that it is July and we are still talking about them. That ship has sailed.

while I am on it, why does everyone rip on IIIA...give a chance to develop. USA Hockey and its members are so quick to change everything.

Advise to USAH...just don't change it, let it develop into what it will become...6 regional leagues. Let the leagues work out how they will compete. My guess is that leagues will dump weaker teams.

 

Anonymous Anonymous said ... (9:14 PM, July 21, 2007) : 

"while I am on it, why does everyone rip on IIIA...give a chance to develop. USA Hockey and its members are so quick to change everything. "

Because it doesn't change anything! Same kids, playing same level of hockey (at least speaking of NORPAC) the only benefit is a financial one for NORPAC

 

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