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Sunday, July 08, 2007

The T3A Verdict

Tier III-A is a go. The CSHL, MnJHL, NorPac, and WSHL will be joining the EJHL and AJHL. I don't know what has been sorted out in terms of national championships, but I'm sure we'll find out in the next day or two when the formal announcement comes down. One thing the council decided to do was drop the arena capacity requirement. I guess I'm not surprised by that, since most teams in these leagues were going to fail on that condition. Why have it if it's not enforced, right? The NorPac league that is entering the new level is pretty much the same league as last season. The proposed AWHL shelved their plans and those teams will remain in their league.

Now, I've been publicly against this concept since the start, but there's no use screaming about it now that it's done. What I can do, however, is challenge all the leagues at this level to make themselves worthy of the designation. Like a kid playing dress-up with their parent's clothes, the leagues all have some room to grow into their new outfits. By grow, I don't mean more teams, I mean improve yourselves. Obtain better talent and do more with it. Raise your standards, even if the Junior Council refuses to. If you aren't constantly improving what you do and how you do it, you are destined for oblivion.

That said, I don't think we've seen the end of the landscape changes. What's next is hard to say, but my crystal ball tells me the future may be in direct affiliations from teams/leagues at one tier to the tier above. I know there are some basic plans floating around out there on this topic, and perhaps some of them will come to fruition.

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Comments on "The T3A Verdict"

 

Anonymous Anonymous said ... (4:06 PM, July 08, 2007) : 

the MN, NP, and WS leagues will not stand a chance with the EJ and AJ leagues. What a joke.

 

Anonymous Anonymous said ... (4:20 PM, July 08, 2007) : 

curious about the national playoff format. The EJ and AJ will be more talented. The EJ proably deserves the most bids then the AJ then the new teams to make it fair.

 

Blogger Pat said ... (4:22 PM, July 08, 2007) : 

I think that this decision is a reflection of how teams/players are more concerned with their "status" of play, rather than there actual level of play. This concept that everyone is a Junior A hockey player is a joke to anyone with any knowledge, or respect, of hockey. Frankly....it feels like a copout by USA Hockey. I hope that there is more to the story that I have yet to hear.

 

Anonymous Anonymous said ... (4:28 PM, July 08, 2007) : 

ALL the cshl coaches cared about was telling their future prospective players they would be junior A. It is sad that this is all they care about. Pat is right when he says it is very disrespectful. Junior A is a privlegde to the top teenage players in the nation. Now almost any player can say they play Junior A. Seems pretty shady.

 

Anonymous doubter said ... (6:21 PM, July 08, 2007) : 

I don't think it matters on the designation. The college and pro scouts will go to games where they will find talent. Remember, these scouts have limited travel budgets. However, you may also find a diamond in the rough.

 

Anonymous Anonymous said ... (6:35 PM, July 08, 2007) : 

What's next....USHL will be called Major Junior, NAHL will be called Junior AA, and so on. You can change the name, but the skill will remain the same.

What was the purpose of the name change in the first place?

 

Anonymous Anonymous said ... (6:35 PM, July 08, 2007) : 

How many Junior B leagues are left? 2?

 

Anonymous Anonymous said ... (6:49 PM, July 08, 2007) : 

probably two maybe three at most. USA hockey screwed up. Thats about it. Nationals will be a joke. Junior B naionals will be a mess and Junior A T3 nationals will completely lopsided scores. It just does not make sense. Some of these leagues need to "wake up."

 

Anonymous Anonymous said ... (7:12 PM, July 08, 2007) : 

wow the wshl and norpac? what a joke to u.s. junior hockey. Neither the cshl or the mnjhl can compete with the ej or aj and the first two dont even belong in the same sentence. hopefully somebody can stop this or people will just have to get the clue at nationals when the ej and aj dominate their games against these leagues that are truly junior B!

 

Anonymous Anonymous said ... (7:17 PM, July 08, 2007) : 

I guess now that the WSHL is "Junior A" we can expect to see D-1 Scouts showing up at games between highly skilled teams like Peoria and the Catahoulas! What a joke. Those teams have players that can't even skate forward let alone backwards and to give them Junior A status, come on!

 

Anonymous Anonymous said ... (7:27 PM, July 08, 2007) : 

Is this completely official? And if so who is in charge of this? Whoever allowed this to happen can not be the smartest guy in the world. The WSHL and NORPAC are the worst Junior B league we have!

 

Anonymous Anonymous said ... (7:33 PM, July 08, 2007) : 

T3A basically just lost alot of respect. The EJ and AJ are two fine leagues that do not seserve to be grouped with Jr B talent. BTW who did end up making this decision?

 

Anonymous Anonymous said ... (7:50 PM, July 08, 2007) : 

Scouts will continue to go to the same games they always heve (USHL, NAHL, top midget showcases/tournies) becuase they know better. It's the under-informed parents who will in for the surprise.

My biggest complaint is now I'll have to hear from local arrogant parents about how their kid is playing Jr A (when they're lucky to make a Jr B team at tops)...

-fangers

 

Anonymous Anonymous said ... (8:54 PM, July 08, 2007) : 

How much will YOU pay for an "A"?

 

Anonymous Anonymous said ... (9:01 PM, July 08, 2007) : 

Rumor has it that some of the T3A teams are now charging as much as $8,000 to $9,000 to play. These same teams were only charging $5,000 as a Junior B team. Fancy title fancy price.

 

Anonymous Anonymous said ... (9:25 PM, July 08, 2007) : 

The whole country of Canada is laughing out loud!!!!!!!!!

 

Blogger Pat said ... (9:47 PM, July 08, 2007) : 

I agree that the scouts will not be fooled by any of this. The same subpar players that play junior hockey in the middle of nowhere (Lafayette, LA?) are still going to be widely ignored by the higher levels. The insult and disrespect that I mentioned earlier was more a comment on the integrity of the game. While I'm sure Canadians will get a kick out of this....by and large they won't care because US junior leagues continue to make these alleged progressive strides in the game without an increase in results (except maybe the USHL). Changing the levels of these leagues won't have any positive impact on the game or the players, which is something that should be the core concern of any decision like this. It's more than a step back in credibility.

 

Anonymous Anonymous said ... (11:11 PM, July 08, 2007) : 

having the Canadians laugh is a joke in itself on this. You have leagues like AEHL and WHA calling themselves Jr. A. 2 wrongs don't make a right but with parents and players believing these leagues are legit is also a joke.

Norpac and wshl might be weaker to start but it looks to me like they spread the leagues across the country.

A quick look back at Jr. B Nats last 3 years shows Wshl and Nphl beating all teams from Met and Empire they faced.

CSHL - EJHL matchup is cool. Like all the crap USA does, hopefully they will stick with this for a few years and let it sort itself out.

Bottom line is that the EJHL will be top dog but other leagues can catch up.

 

Anonymous Anonymous said ... (11:21 PM, July 08, 2007) : 

this will distroy the WSHL and Nor-Pac. The top teams will get better players and the bottom teams will be even further behind. It will make the two leagues even worse than they are now, which is very difficult to do. Send Phoenix to the MinJHL and chop off the rest.

 

Anonymous Anonymous said ... (11:27 PM, July 08, 2007) : 

I'm utterly disgusted.

 

Anonymous Pat said ... (11:28 PM, July 08, 2007) : 

The difference between the AEHL and WHA in Canada is that as far as I know....they are independent of Hockey Canada. USA Hockey just sanctioned all of these "Jr. A" teams. It's apples and oranges.

 

Anonymous pat said ... (11:34 PM, July 08, 2007) : 

Does anyone else think the departure of Dave Tyler allowed this to happen? I know the new guy is from the EJHL....a formerly independent junior league. I personally know Tyler was a traditionalist with strong feelings towards an "A,B,C" system.
Not tying to argue about who is better....just throwing this idea out there for discussion?

 

Anonymous Anonymous said ... (12:06 AM, July 09, 2007) : 

There will be Junior "A" teams that are a bantam B level in true hockey markets. The beginning of the end of USA Junior Hockey, absolute disgrace.

 

Anonymous Anonymous said ... (12:18 AM, July 09, 2007) : 

The lipstick is put on the pig. Guess what - it is still a pig.

 

Blogger Mr.Tourism said ... (12:34 AM, July 09, 2007) : 

The truth about junior hockey is that the people who make the rules and regulations are making the money with really no regards for the player or the actual sport unless it entails money making revenues .
The fact remains to be seen regarding the expression" for the good of the game" as Hockey Canada and US Hockey have stated over the decades is not entirely the truth. What is your thoughts about this?
What about the fact many of these so called accreditated leagues who fold teams(TUCSON TILT) like there is no tommorow and leave parents high and dry.

Excerpt::
Greenville Grrrowl (ECHL) President Ed Rubinstein said this afternoon that the hockey team lost about $1 million last year and can't pay some of its bills, but that he's trying to line up additional financing. Unforeseen expenses, including medical bills and worker's compensation issues, have cost the team more than expected, Rubinstein said, and attendance has not increased as much as hoped. Mark Swanson, an arena district board member and chairman of its finance committee, said it's probable the Grrrowl will fold if the team doesn't get additional bank financing.


In the pay-to-play side of Junior hockey, or what is now being called Tier III - A, B or C - these leagues ( like the CHA, MET League and the Atlantic Junior Hockey League) are required to adhere to various tuition caps, teams must travel by bus for away games, provide hotel rooms for road trips, we must video tape games, provide certified athletic trainers, etc. Does every league have some failures in meeting some of these requirements? Absolutely. But some like NORPAC fail in more than one area.

Then leagues like Norpac with some teams that command 50 people to a game ....that have arenas with gaping separations between the ice in the corner along the bottom of the boards meet the ice the cement shows.. where players have actually had thier sticks stuck and could of been seriously injured are of no consequence to the league (NORPAC US Hockey) lets move them(norpac) up a Jr A level of pay to play ?!.

 

Anonymous Sun Man said ... (12:44 AM, July 09, 2007) : 

I guess I'm not surprised by that, since most teams in these leagues were going to fail on that condition.
You are so correct there MARK

 

Anonymous Anonymous said ... (6:48 AM, July 09, 2007) : 

HAHA WHAT A JOKE

 

Anonymous Anonymous said ... (7:27 AM, July 09, 2007) : 

What a joke. How will USA hockey monitor all these leagues when it hasn't even enforced the T3 standards with the EJ and the AJ? From what I see most of the teams in those leagues don't follow the rules and USA hockey turns a blind eye,so adding more leagues is just going to make it worse.

 

Anonymous Anonymous said ... (7:51 AM, July 09, 2007) : 

Pat - I agree that the credibility is taking a big hit with this move.

All it will allow is for leagues/team to further milk parents out of more $$$$ as uninformed parents attempt to provide ways for their player(s) to pursue their hockey dream. It's a shame that so many parents will think their player is truly "Jr A" caliber because of this, when they really aren't...

- fangers

 

Anonymous Anonymous said ... (9:36 AM, July 09, 2007) : 

phoneix (WS) St Louis (CSHL) dubuque (CSHL) Ice Hawks (MN) to teir 3. Those are probably the only teams that would keep the competetition the same.

 

Anonymous Anonymous said ... (9:49 AM, July 09, 2007) : 

In response to Pat:

"Does anyone else think the departure of Dave Tyler allowed this to happen? I know the new guy is from the EJHL....a formerly independent junior league. I personally know Tyler was a traditionalist with strong feelings towards an "A,B,C" system."

No, I do not. This was on the table back when Dave Tyler was still in office.

Dan Esdale was pushing for the EJHL to get "A" status for years under the grounds that a league that sends 40+ kids to D1 hockey every year should be acknowledged as a level above "B" or "C" leagues. Esdale wanted the "A" label to be synonymous with college development.

When the vote came to give the EJHL the "A" label, some leagues were reluctant to bend the existing criteria, so one commissioner came up with the idea of "Tier III," which involved pay-to-play leagues. Esdale and the NAHL both wanted performance based criteria to be in place (let us not forget that the NAHL shares markets with many of the new T3A leagues), but the rest of the junior council resisted. Esdale then backed off, and the council voted to give his league T3 A status. Problem solved? Not quite.

The Atlantic League formed four years ago and copied the EJHL's model, and has since gained some ground, but has a way to go before it can claim equality with the EJHL. However, with the same operational criteria as the EJHL, it claimed that it should be given the new status, and Tyler and Co. had no choice but to include them.

Now, with no real system of checks and balances in place, there is no stopping any league that wants to become Tier 3 Junior A.

The remedy: abandon all labels. Everyone knows the USHL is better than any other league. The NAHL established itself as a top league, and the EJHL has survived quite well without advertising its classification. With all the leagues simply being "junior hockey," they will survive or fail based on their own merits. Even when there was no such thing as Tier 1 or Tier 3 Junior A, the college coaches knew where to look.

 

Anonymous Anonymous said ... (11:21 AM, July 09, 2007) : 

to the reply above at 9:49am

I agree with you up to the point of abandoning labels, which I think need to changed to more accurately describle the talent level of the leagues. Why? So that parents and players - many of whom lack the understanding of the folks posting here - can more easily know what it is the are paying for. Right now, that information is hard to find (should be more obvious on the USAH web site for starters).

True, the scouts and college coaches will know the difference, but many parents won't - they'll still believe what they've heard all along that "Jr A" is the best route to college and assume that by paying out the $$$ to play on some of these teams they are ding that.

I've already heard from 10-12 such parents, bragging that their son is playing "Jr A" and my son not...knowing full well that my son will likely be playing Midget Major another season (as #1 goalie, playing in the MWEHL) in lieu of sitting the bench in the NAHL. To them, all Jr A is the same, and that's the problem...

- fangers

 

Anonymous Anonymous said ... (11:49 AM, July 09, 2007) : 

I think the decision is a joke and a disgrace to those teams/players that truly are "Jr A". Including the NORPAC in that decision is truly a joke - the only team that could compete at that level was smart and made the move to WHA.

Smart move - remove the rink requirement and it fixed everything? Opened the flood gates and they all rushed in.. There are NORPAC teams that would be stomped by local HS teams and Midget U18 - they have no business being classified Jr A.

 

Anonymous Anonymous said ... (11:59 AM, July 09, 2007) : 

You've hit the nail on the head, Fangers. What this really does for those in the know is change the vernacular to; Tier l, Tierll and Tier lll. Calling something Junior A won't mean much. However, If there was a true Junior A Natioal Championship, (USHL, NAHL and EJHL/AJHL)this might have been avoided. Dave Tyler openned the flood gates last year when he allowed the Tier lll designation as an "Probationary" situation that was not monitored. clearly the AJHL couldn't compete head to head with the top EJ teams. My hope is a true "National Championship" at least among Tier lll, anything else would certainly be lopsided!

The good news is it made a lot of future Junior A Hockey Dads smile!! They'll figure it out soon enough!

 

Blogger Pat said ... (12:09 PM, July 09, 2007) : 

I don't understand how parents can get this confused. If they are writing a check for anything more than skates or billet fees....it's not Jr. A. It's that simple.

I've always felt that the EJHL, despite it's success in sending players to northeastern colleges, wasn't "A" for this reason. I'm old enough (29) to remember when the EJHL was technically Jr. Open/C and wasn't offended by it because they were hugely successful in New England. The new classification hasn't produced a greater number of scholarships...has it? I strongly feel it all boils down to pride and ego among league front offices.

 

Anonymous Anonymous said ... (12:47 PM, July 09, 2007) : 

pat the problem with this argument is that by requiring a team to cover costs of its players in order to be considered Jr. A, you have essentially restricted Jr. A hockey from the east coast, where a number of factors prevent teams from covering all of their operating costs without charging playing fees.

The end result is that good players from the east coast had to leave and go out west in order to play sanctioned "Jr. A hockey", and I believe that was the problem that USAH was trying to solve.

I agree that a huge problem exists, and needs to be corrected quickly, I just don't think eliminating the east coast from any Jr. A classification is the answer.

 

Anonymous Anonymous said ... (12:54 PM, July 09, 2007) : 

To the person that said ALL CSHL coaches were asking for this, you are wrong. There were three camps in the CSHL. Those that see it for what it really is, those that really don't care one way or the other and those that think this is the savior for their teams. Look at the teams in the league and tell me which ones are which. To make kind of a generalization isn't fair to those teams that see it for what it really is.

 

Anonymous Anonymous said ... (12:58 PM, July 09, 2007) : 

very good point. The sad thing is that the top notch programs did not beg for Teir 3 status. It was mostly the awful metro jets that had alot to do with it. Motor City is also a huge part. All summer these teams have told their prospects it will be JUNIOR A next season. what a joke.

 

Blogger Pat said ... (1:06 PM, July 09, 2007) : 

Anon...

You missed my point. The kids were getting the same amount of scholarships before the new designation. The point is that there was no need to call the EJHL Jr. A. It worked just fine. I don't think the players cared (parents and front offices DO care) whether it was called Jr. A or not.....they were still going D1.

I also question why the east coast NEEDS Jr. A hockey? Your argument is that the east coast is entitled to that level when all that creates is a diluted product. I go back to an earlier point....scouts know where to go to find talent. Whether it's midgets, high school, Jr. C, or the clusterf*** that is now Jr. A....true talent will get noticed.

P.S.-I'm from the east, too.

 

Anonymous Anonymous said ... (1:25 PM, July 09, 2007) : 

Couple things.

Pat - you'd be surprised how little many parents really understand about USAH structure and the the like, especially those not exposed to AAA or those in "non-traditional" hockey markets (like me in Cincy). I run into this basic lack of understanding ALL the time, and I find it surprising that so many make decisions (big decisions at that) without any idea of what they are getting into. That's why I visit blogs like this and the Jr Hockey site - to learn all I can so that I can make informed decisions.

On the whole label issue: If the "Tier III" is really all about the type of fees that can be charged (which I understand the issues on the East Coast), and the letter (A/B/C) is supposed to signify the talent level, wouldn't it have been easier to use:

Tier I Jr A (USHL)
Tier II Jr A (NAHL)
Tier III Jr A (EJHL)
Tier III Jr B (CSHL, AJHL, WSHL,....)


...instead of calling them all "Jr A"
?????

- fangers

 

Blogger Pat said ... (1:37 PM, July 09, 2007) : 

Hey Fangers.....two things-

1.I will never underestimate the lack of knowledge of hockey parents everywhere. I've had plenty of parents prove to me they don't know enough.

2.Thanks for using your name and not hiding behind "anonymous".

 

Anonymous Anonymous said ... (3:30 PM, July 09, 2007) : 

Pat,

I posted the comments under "annonymous" above, and I'm sorry about the annonymous post. It was more the result of rushing to get this posted, then any attempt to remain annonymous.

I certainly understand your point about the product not changing significantly just because the label does, however I do know some uninformed families that were very quick to dismiss the EJHL when it was still officially classified as a Jr. C league.

I'm wondering (and I havent really given this any thought, I'm just throwing it out for debate) if there is anyway that the USHL would be able to expand out east, and still retain its superiority as a league? It might require a merger of some leagues which I know will never happen, but hypothetically speaking, I wonder if given some sort of profit sharing, or a small participation fee charged to every player across the board, this type of situation would be possible.

Just food for thought

---hcoach

 

Anonymous Anonymous said ... (3:48 PM, July 09, 2007) : 

if you charge money for anything billet, tape, to play, you should be Junior A Tier II, eliminate the Tier III label. If it's free - Tier I. Bring back the attendance/seat requirement for Tier I and II. That eliminates CSHL, MJHL, WSHL as jr A league.

Jr A - Tier I USHL
Jr A - Tier II (NAHL, EJHL, AJHL, etc)

USAHockey is afraid to lose the junior teams to AAUHockey and other insurance providers. USAHockey just wants the money.

 

Anonymous Anonymous said ... (3:56 PM, July 09, 2007) : 

"very good point. The sad thing is that the top notch programs did not beg for Teir 3 status. It was mostly the awful metro jets that had alot to do with it. Motor City is also a huge part. All summer these teams have told their prospects it will be JUNIOR A next season. what a joke."

In response to the above, whom ever you are, you obviously haven't heard or sat in on a CSHL Board meeting. A few owners in the CSHL have stated publicly their objection to the entire Tier III A classification. Of those with that mind the Metro Jets are one.

However you see it, the CSHL is a 23 team league and the votes were to pursue the T3A classification. Being good citizens of a league many of these teams are simply voting to keep the CSHL in tact.

Thank you for your time in this matter.

 

Anonymous Anonymous said ... (3:58 PM, July 09, 2007) : 

The previous post should have stated that the CSHL is a 13 team league

 

Blogger Pat said ... (4:05 PM, July 09, 2007) : 

Hcoach-

I don't think the USHL would consider moving out east. It would upset the balance of a very successful league and they don't view it as their job to validate the level of all US junior hockey. It would have to be a set-up similar to major junior in Canada. Three leagues under the same umbrella. Skill-wise the US is no where near making this a reality.

 

Anonymous Anonymous said ... (4:16 PM, July 09, 2007) : 

exactly. skill wise it really isnt possible. I also like the idea about the EJ/AJ grouped with the NA at teir 2, but that would also never happen because of talent/money revenue (attendance). If the Ej and AJ went teir 2 it would only be a matter of time before all the tier 3 teams ask for tier 2 status. This is just a big mess basically.

 

Anonymous Anonymous said ... (4:25 PM, July 09, 2007) : 

this "mess" was partly created by the parents and players wanting so bad to play "A" hockey, they didn't care who called themselves "A" they would flock to it.

Case in point...AEHL. "A" hockey? , nope. Yet players and parents were proud to announce it.

 

Anonymous Anonymous said ... (4:34 PM, July 09, 2007) : 

this is stupid.. jr B is for brutal players, and everyone knows which leagues those are... nobody will be fooled by this

 

Anonymous Stephen said ... (5:45 PM, July 09, 2007) : 

USA Hockey needs to get control of this.

Go European on them.

For the first year, start out by seeding the entire system. From Omaha to Tulsa and all teams in between.

The top "tier-league" (USHL) gets 20 teams. The worse league (Norpac?) gets the bottom.

The top teams in each tier gets to move up, and the worse drops down.

Some are going to say it is impossible, but really it is not. Require all teams in a tier to play a single series within the tier, with the rest of the schedule being at the team's discretion, with a maximum of 60 games.

Would be cool to do a US Open kind of tournament during the season, with all teams that desire to participate, are allowed to. Pairings could be regional, and the semi-finals and finals could be played on a closed weekend, and combined with a "rest of the system" all-star game. Make this meaningful, and a fast track to Tier I, if you are not already there. In this case, Tier I would send drop two to the next level, and others down from there.

Don't want to have to put it on the ice? Stay at the "B" level. Want to charge $50,000 a year, go for it. Want to give it way, more power to ya.

Eventually the cream will rise to the top, and the sludge will sink to the bottom.

Want to put a new franchise into the system? You start out at the bottom. Franchise fees, system sponsorships, all go to USA Hockey, and the Junior Council. Distribution to the clubs is heavier at the top, and scaled down to where the last tier does not get anything.

 

Anonymous Anonymous said ... (7:41 PM, July 09, 2007) : 

First off, the CSHL is a 13 team league. Money is obviously not an issue with the owners. Travel cost will go up drasticly because they did not want to add Danville or the Northern Michigan franchises. Just poor leadership here. Look for this league to stagnate over the next couple years. They will be passed by other better organized leagues. Time for a change.

 

Anonymous Anonymous said ... (9:46 PM, July 09, 2007) : 

My Oh My! What a string of Drivel. A few reasoned comments, but “What a joke” doesn’t contribute anything. Neither does pulling up old arguments about which league is best. And why is it a joke? Bill S said “a rose by any other name would smell as sweet” Translation: It is what it is.

Hanging a new label won’t change much of anything. It might make a modicum of difference in recruiting, but ultimately the ability of the team to recruit will fall to the recruiters. The pool of players will not change because of a change of title – it will stay the same size. It goes up and down each year a bit, but each year, it is what it is. The recruiting game remains the same, and is what it is. The recruiting results will be based on which teams can sing and dance the prettiest to entice the youngsters to don their uniform and pay their price.

Will the price of “pay to play” change? Maybe, but so what? The most expensive venues will have to be better or they will get few recruits. Why pay more to play on a poor team? The ability of a market to level itself isn’t even being considered in most of the comments. Will some families be priced out of the market? Maybe, but some teams out there will remain the low price leaders. If a kid really wants to play, there will be a place. If dad wants the kid to play to get his vicarious thrill, dad can pay up. If the “A” costs more, dad has to make a decision. Or maybe a better decision can be made that tells the both of them that hockey ends at 19, not 21, if both kid and dad don’t have the ability to stand tall to their respective contributions. This would raise the level of hockey a bit – but it would reduce the pool of players. So back down it goes! Low-priced teams might even get some economically disadvantaged star players – unless, of course, someone “pays” their “tuition” (how the H does this word come into play, anyway?) to a more expensive and better team. But that’s supposed to be against the rules, isn’t it. And how enforced is that rule? Maybe that’s a change that everyone could embrace. So many comments railing against change, but sometimes change is good! And needed!

Some have decided that it’s all driven by the parents wanting to brag that their kid is a Jr. A player. Others are convinced that is it the money grubbing owners. Who cares? Play or leave is the choice that most of us have. When April 15 comes up, what does it matter if the Pres, the Congress, or the IRS makes the rules? Your tax bill this year is $X.

What does it matter if Nor Pac or EJ is the better league. The market will sort that out, too. At the end of the year the best of each will get to play in the same sandbox, and that year’s superior league may get identified. But then what does one or two games prove? The rest of the time they play intraleague, so the level of play is what it is.

And who among us is so worthy that we are allotted the right to decide who gets to play and who doesn’t. Doesn’t the hue and cry of “it’s for the kids” operate anymore? Or did it ever? I agree that there are kids out there that can’t skate backwards, or shouldn’t even be Jr. B. But that’s not my call. They are there and wearing skates, and some of them will probably be Jr. III A later this year. It is what it is. That doesn’t stop the superior players from getting a call from D1, does it? How many of us really think that some kid is out skating at Schwab’s Drug Store and some college recruiter comes along and says “Kid, you really should be playing for Hollywood Hockeyjock U”? The good players are on the radar. The market will take care of it.

Come on folks – It is what it is. If it’s broken even worse now, USA Hockey will fix it next year- or the year after- or the year after – They have to do something to make all that staff and all those dues look productive. Lay the blame where it belongs and let the kids play hockey.
NewFan

 

Anonymous Anonymous said ... (12:19 AM, July 10, 2007) : 

Soon all NORPAC Teams will be Farm teams to the NHL that is how insane all this is!!

 

Anonymous xumip said ... (12:24 AM, July 10, 2007) : 

NHL general information: + 172 US citizens (25%) out of 690 total players in the NHL -
60 Americans were drafted in 2006 = 28.0 % of the 213 drafted

10 Americans were drafted in the first round; 8 Americans went in the second

round.

18 (30.0%) came out of NCAA College Hockey

NHL in 1970-71 = 14 teams / 325 players: 95.3% Canadian, 2.3% European and 2.1%

NHL in 2005-06 = 30 teams / 690 players: 47.5% Canadian, 27.3% European and 25.0 % US most usa players into nhl come from four states

22 MN + 17.7%
22 MA + 17.7%
18 MI + 14.5% 62.8%
16 NY + 12.9 %
So is It is a numbers game:??

Generally the player between the ages of 15 and 20 is considered eligible for junior hockey.

There are approximately 76,811 U.S. male players in this age group. There are

approximately 182,378 Canadian Players in this age group. A total of 5,100 players are currently

registered in U.S. domestic junior hockey programs.

There are approximately 76,811 U.S. male players in this age group. There
> are
> approximately 182,378 Canadian Players in this age group. A total of 5,100
> players are currently
> registered in U.S. domestic junior hockey programs.
> + 276 in Tier 1 - USHL
> + 425 in Tier 2 - NAHL
> + 650 in Tier 3 Junior A – (EJHL & AJHL) – pilot programs
> + 2,100 in Tier 3 Junior B
> + 570 in Tier 3 Junior C
> + 175 in Tier 3 Junior D
> + 904 Independent Junior - other
> 155 Canadians in USA Junior Hockey
> 397 USA Citizens into Canadian Junior Hockey
> 14 IIHF Federation players in USA Junior Hockey
> + 4931 domestic junior Players are US citizens
> 1 out of 15 USA players (15 to 20 yrs) are playing USA junior hockey
> (6.6%)
> 1 out of 280 USA players are playing tier 1 (0.36 %)
> 1 out of 181 eligible players are playing tier 2 (0.55 %)
> 1 out of 118 eligible players are playing tier 3 Junior A (0.85 %)
> 1 out of 37 eligible players are playing tier 3 Junior B (2.73 %)
> 1 out of 137 eligible players are playing tier 3 Junior C (0.73 %)
> 1 out of 428 eligible players are playing tier 3 junior D (0.23%)

 

Anonymous Anonymous said ... (7:26 AM, July 10, 2007) : 

Thank you for that pile of incredible useless statistical poo!
Did that poo have a point, or was it just a random dropping?

 

Anonymous Anonymous said ... (8:03 AM, July 10, 2007) : 

I can only speak on what I have seen from the NorPac. I was involved with this league for the past three seasons. There are teams in that league that will get creamed at a traditonal Jr A level and other teams that already have a good program will only get better players, ie, Eugene and Seattle and the league will even get more lopsided. How is that kind of hockey going to make any sense? Well not to me. Not to make any slams but the River City Jaguars are one team that is going to need a complete make over to even think about trying to compete at a Jr B level. I wish the league the best of luck, I just dont see NorPac competing at a Jr A level, even if it is a Tier III. I saw the teams at the Jr B nationals. I was very well impressed at the level of play. I dont see many teams in the NorPac even touching the talent of play I saw at the Jr "B" Nationals.

Rocco

 

Anonymous Anonymous said ... (9:09 AM, July 10, 2007) : 

The thing about nationals is that you only get to see the top two teams in your league play in nationals. Hypothetically you could have two powerhouses and the rest of your teams be absolute garbage. The results of your teams in nationals do not specifically say how much talent your league has. If you put a couple of the bottom teams in from one the new leagues against some of the bottom teams against a league like the EJ the score would be very lopsided, very quickly.


N-A

 

Anonymous Anonymous said ... (11:03 AM, July 10, 2007) : 

NORPAC's River City club should just fold. They have been saying for "three years" that they are rebuilding. Yet they have the same outcome season after season. They don't have the ability/skills to compete in NORPAC. Their coaching staff has no recruiting skills. They get players that can't make a better NORPAC team and local players that are destined for the beer league.

 

Anonymous Anonymous said ... (11:22 AM, July 10, 2007) : 

The majority of the NORPAC teams got what they wanted. The ability to charge more. If you can write a check you can play. This is why the league began the witch hunt of the Pioneers. The Pioneers were about competing at the National level. Figure it out!

 

Anonymous Anonymous said ... (12:52 PM, July 10, 2007) : 

Just call the USHL AAA, move the AJ and EJ up with the NAHL and call it AA then the others can call themselves A. Drop all the "Teir" crap. Then playing A hockey will be just like youth hockey, no big deal.....

 

Anonymous Anonymous said ... (1:21 PM, July 10, 2007) : 

the comment above me makes alot of sense. look at the bright side. Junior C could move up to B! hah.


N-A

 

Anonymous Anonymous said ... (1:38 PM, July 10, 2007) : 

The sport hockey in North America under the guidance? of both UShockey and hockeyCanada are turning the sport into a ring-ling bros circus with a few good acts some greats one and alot of filler acts not worth anything. It is sad state of affairs Looks like Europe will soon dominate in ALL aspects of this sport. ITS likely why there are more and more independant
leagues as parents and the likes look for solutions to the mess made by UShockey & hockey canada and are tiring of the control they have that does nothing for the sport platers fans and etc. it is shameful what is happening with NORPAC as by the comments here 90% agree it is an utter joke

 

Blogger Pat said ... (2:03 PM, July 10, 2007) : 

Please do not think that calling everything junior some level of "A" (AAA,AA,A) is the solution. That's exactly what has brought us to this point of idiocy.

Years ago, when little Johnny got cut from the local Squirt A team, Daddy went out and created a new organization labeled Squirt AA. This is actually a realistic synopsis of what happened in the Philadelphia area (as well as many other places) in the late 80's and early 90's. Did the level of play get any better? Absolutely not! It was always about making little Johnny think he is a better hockey player than he is. I am saddened by the act of US junior hockey following this trail towards catering to the feelings of hockey players and organizations that just aren't good enough!

Sorry for the rant, but the incompetence of parents and the willingness of people in charge to relent frustrates me.

 

Anonymous Anonymous said ... (2:21 PM, July 10, 2007) : 

What is all of this talk about moving the AJ and EJ into a separate catagory. The fact remains that the AJ is not an A league, with the exception of one or two teams. The majority of that league is a Jr. B league. The CSHL and the AJ are comparable leagues. The EJ and NAHL are comparable leagues.

To the person that stated call them Tier I A, Tier II A, Tier III B, that's what they already do. All of those teams that moved to tier III A were Tier III B teams.

A question to others, why is it not A if you have to pay? The economics of the hockey make it darn near impossible to operate these days. That doesn't mean that a player should get a free ride for Junior hockey. As a matter of fact, the NAHL and EJ should be Tier II Jr. A leagues that charge a fee to play and the AJHL should drop down to Jr. B, except the top couple of teams that can actually compete with some of the EJ teams.

 

Blogger Pat said ... (2:36 PM, July 10, 2007) : 

Hey anonymous-

Why do you argue about making exceptions for Junior A hockey? You say that tuition shouldn't be a factor...but we've already determined with this decision that skill isn't a factor either. Why not draw a line in the sand somewhere?

 

Anonymous Anonymous said ... (2:41 PM, July 10, 2007) : 

you do not really know what you are talking about. the cshl is brutal. besides st louis and dubuque. the AJ is not as good as the EJ, but it is very comparable. Every team in the AJ could compete with every EJ team besides Laconia. The best solution to this is drop all the labels. The USHL is the league to be. Top scouts know where to look. They dont need "A"s and "tier"s to figure it out.


- Junior Fan

 

Anonymous Anonymous said ... (3:04 PM, July 10, 2007) : 

Stop the BS. It is not about tiering, scouts, etc. It is about $$. USA Hockey is threatened by rebel leagues and the loss of registration money. They had to grant this to try and stop the bleeding. $$ is the driving force behind the decision. It will not stop the rise of rebel leagues but it may slow it down.

 

Blogger Pat said ... (3:42 PM, July 10, 2007) : 

I don't understand the "rebel league" argument. Has a rebel league ever succeeded? Has the second incarnation of the WHA gotten off the ground? Have any of the "rebel" junior leagues (across the country at this point)gained any credibility outside of it's own headquarters? I think the best argument for a "rebel" succeeding would be the Federation run Minnesota HS hockey leagues. But while that is a success, I don't think that they are challenging USA Hockey for dominanace or financial status, nor is their long and historical existence relevant to this argument.

I get that the idea is money-driven, but to suggest USA Hockey is afraid of competition is wrong.

 

Anonymous Anonymous said ... (4:03 PM, July 10, 2007) : 

USAH is not afraid of the competition - they are afraid of of losing players to independent leagues. Again its about money and numbers.. not competition. The independent leagues could find plenty of 'competition' across the country at their choosing if they wanted.

USAH is afraid of lawsuits that could likely arise from all this by leagues that would act like spoiled children that didn't get their way - they may have felt backed into a corner and had to do it. The mistake was allowing WSHL and NORPAC into that status. They need to do the right thing and make them Jr B.

If USAH thinks this is going to keep the best players from seeking better opportunities outside of USAH they are mistaken.

 

Blogger Pat said ... (4:39 PM, July 10, 2007) : 

USA Hockey has already provided a place for the best players to pursue the best opportunities....it's called the USHL. What's the confusion? If the players were in a Jr. B league that just got elevated....guess what? They aren't the best players! The players that go to independent leagues are those that have already failed to progress up the natural ladder and are looking for an alternative (aka they aren't good enough).

Secondly, if there's a league that USA Hockey doesn't like to lose players to, it's the Canadian Hockey League. That's something that will always happen, based upon the goals and desires of the individual player. I don't think that independent leagues are much of a concern.

 

Anonymous Anonymous said ... (4:43 PM, July 10, 2007) : 

if you looked at the agenda for the meetings last month in colorado you would see that rebel leagues were and are a major concern. every player they lose they lose $$. its all about $$ and registration numbers. how else can you fund the national teams? the aehl & wha will continue to improve because of the new mwmbership teams. they are and will continue to be a threat. just ask.

 

Anonymous Anonymous said ... (8:19 PM, July 10, 2007) : 

Wow! Lots of opinions and bashing on leagues, especially the NORPAC! Are the comments valid about NORPAC reputation? Or just a few bad apples, like most leagues? There must be some GM's, coaches, or staffers out there wanting to publicly or anonymously reply about their org's integrity, leadership, and mission...player development! It will be interesting however,to see if/how many B league team agreement forms are "revised" next few weeks to reflect new fee cap! -HockeyPop.

 

Anonymous Anonymous said ... (8:45 PM, July 10, 2007) : 

HockeyPop,

All you have to do is go to the NORPAC website

http://www.thenphl.com/

and click on Statistics and then click on each team...and tell us what you think? The top two teams in each division (Pacific and Mountain) are the only teams (and CDA) that could compete with the best Jr B teams at nationals.

Seriously...teams like River City could probably be beat by the Portland Jr Hawks U18 team last season.

 

Anonymous Anonymous said ... (10:28 PM, July 10, 2007) : 

"Has a rebel league ever succeeded?" Yes the EJ & AJ. They were both rebel leagues a few years back.

 

Anonymous Anonymous said ... (10:38 PM, July 10, 2007) : 

no they really were not. EJ was a talented league like the NAHL that was considered Junior C, but talent wise deserved to be Junior A teir 2. But could not be considered teir 2 b/c they had their players pay tuition because they could not put fans in the seats, b/c of so much other hockey in the same area.


Junior Fan

 

Blogger Pat said ... (11:21 PM, July 10, 2007) : 

The EJHL was a well-established league (80's/90's) that not many people outside of New England knew about. It was a secondary option to prep school (which is huge in that part of the country) for local kids. It produced roughly as many D1 scholarships per team as the NAHL. It was never a rogue league.

As for the AJHL....how old is the league? I think it's relatively new....3,4 years? Maybe with time it will prove itself to be "A" caliber, but probably not yet.

Lastly, the AJHL footprint crosses into EJHL territory....yes? I KNOW the talent pool is not deep enough here in the east to support two "A" leagues. They are fighting for the same players.

 

Anonymous Anonymous said ... (1:47 AM, July 11, 2007) : 

The Ice Hawks are the only team in MN that will stand a chance

 

Anonymous Anonymous said ... (4:57 AM, July 11, 2007) : 

Pat,

I agree with you that a line needs to be drawn in the sand, but why again would you draw it along solely financial lines when you know that it will isolate half of the country?

The question we need to ask ourselves is what really makes a league a "Jr. A" league? I know that officially and traditionally we have been talking about whether or not the league is pay to play, but what if Bill Gates decides to fund an independent Jr. league that meets all of the financial requirements for Tier 1 Jr. A, even though the talet level of the players is no where close to that of the USHL, does that constitute a Jr A league?

INHO we continue to shoot ourselves in the foot down here with this free market mentality and the fact that we won't entertain geographic requirements similar to those in Canada.

If leagues were geographically controlled by USAH and still required to adhere to certain financial and player development requirements in order to ensure competitiveness across the country, we might begin to see a level playing field. The problem is that no one down here wants to talk about geographically restricting players to play in their own area. I mean in the USHL alone last season you had around 60 east coast players, excluding Ohio.

--hcoach

 

Anonymous Pat said ... (6:15 AM, July 11, 2007) : 

Hcoach-

I understand that in a perfect world each region would have their own "A" league and players wouldn't have to leave the area, but it all comes back to talent available. If USA Hockey put restrictions on players so that they could only play within their designated league, you would see even more defections to Canada then you see today. Your plan works in Canada because you have 3 major junior leagues with world-wide respect and history dating back at least 50 years. A kid from Sarnia, ON (random city) who wants to go to the NHL can play in his own backyard and have a chance at that dream. Now try telling any of those 60 east coast kids (with similar dreams) from the USHL that they have to give up playing better hockey in the midwest (the best junior league in our country) to play in the AJHL? A 4 year old league that's fighting for respect in it's own region? You would be cheating the kids from their best opportunity (remember, it's all about the kids). Do you see the difference? Your idea may work 20 years down the road, but not now.

 

Anonymous Anonymous said ... (8:51 AM, July 11, 2007) : 

I think thu person was talking aobut putting restrictions for the better leagues like the USHL. Not the AJHL.

 

Anonymous Anonymous said ... (11:13 AM, July 11, 2007) : 

That's exactly what I was talking about. At this point you have almost 3 team's worth of East Coast Players skating in the USHL (especially if you throw in Ohio).

If USAH stepped in and realigned the Tier 1 Jr A division to expand it's presence on the East Coast, perhaps through some sort of merger between the EJ and USHL, it would seem possible to level the paying field to some extent.

Obviously you would need to trim some organizations because you do not have 14 teams worth of Tier 1 Jr. A talent on the East coast, but if they then did the same thing with the NAHL, the left over EJHL franchises, and perhaps a few AJ franchises, you would have a balanced Tier 2 Jr. A loop.

The problem obiously is that you will never get this accomplished because of the $ factor, which is a shame.

 

Anonymous Anonymous said ... (12:22 PM, July 11, 2007) : 

I've heard enough of the NorPac bashing. Ft. Vancouver (despite their cheating) was 2-1 at the Nats last year and they had to play 5 guys short each game. Has they had a full roster they may have gone 3-0.

NorPac's Showcase team was a respecttable 1-1 last year and 3-0-1 (tie) the year before, the only teams at the showcase to go undefeated.

That illustrates to me that the best players NorPac has to offer are as good as any other league considered for this new level designation.

The problem as I see it with this change is the gate is open to too many teams. Maybe what they should do is limit the leagues to 8 teams per. Junior hockey is so saturated it is a joke. USHL is good model...grow through strength not amount of teams. Some at USA needs to grab some sack and make those tough decisions.

 

Anonymous Anonymous said ... (1:16 PM, July 11, 2007) : 

Let's not talk about saturation at the Junior level before the real problem with hockey in the US is addressed.

What is it you might ask. Its just the biggest joke in the entire IIHF. The four year midget age bracket. Thats what.

 

Anonymous Anonymous said ... (5:16 AM, July 12, 2007) : 

everyone talks about fee's the jr. teams a regulated by usa hockey and have a set amount, while Midget AAA is not monitored or regulated by usa hockey I shelled out more than 12 grand and my son missed more days of school then if he would have played jr.B and played less games and less practice hours! no one talks the truth on here except Marc

 

Anonymous Anonymous said ... (7:39 AM, July 12, 2007) : 

IMO I think MM AAA is a better route than Junior B. 12 grand is VERY expansive though.

 

Anonymous Anonymous said ... (8:55 AM, July 12, 2007) : 

Come on, USAH is the problem not the "rebel", "rogue" what ever you want to call these leagues. It has received the attention of USAH and is a concern because MANY teams are sitting back and looking at the whole specturm.WHY DO WE NEED TO BE WITH USAH???? So to calm the east coast teams down, lets just give them the Tier III Status; what is next now, Tier 4, 5, 6.

Bottom line is if a player has a good program whether Jr. A, B etc. and the staff truly hunts college programs down and is consistently providing player-bios and information to teams for their players, they will get noticed.

There is no difference between USAH or Rebel Leagues other than the POLITICAL & MONEY issues that have and will always plague USAH. It is no different then stating you have "State Farm" and I have "Progressive" Insurance. I actually heard that these Rebel Leagues use the same insurance as USAH "K&K" Ins.

Not sure who stated the one comment above, but they should get their facts straight........EJHL was a INDEPENDENT LEAGUE when they started out. USAH saw how great they did and wanted them to be in USAH to build their "CORPORATION". Just like Mike Odessa's team, was a graet independent team for many years and the AJHL wanted him to join as well.

IF IT WAS NOT FOR USAH'S LITTLE NEST EGG (USHL-COMPILES AROUND $20,000.00 TO EACH TEAM EVERY YEAR TO GIVE A BUFFER SUPPORT)THEY WOULD BE HURTING WORSE THAN THEY ARE NOW. So mean while they could care less about the east coast teams and though by granting them the Tier III status all they have done is self-destructed the USAH.

To knock the rogue or rebel leagues is nothing more than an excuse for the "CORPORATE" folks in USAH to place blame. Perhaps they should clean out the problem they created and clean house of money goblins and look at the facts. Some teams and players are sick of all the false hype and promises, so they are looking to other avenues. To say the reble and rougue leagues are to blame is a joke. ALL USAH WANTS IS YOUR MONEY. Funny thing is they have woken a sleeping giant and teams are waking up and ready to walk out the broken down USAH front door.

Its like saying the kids should not play Jr. A in Canada. HELLO...........players DO NOT PAY TO PLAY JR. A IN CANADA. Its a no brainer. There are TEN LEAGUES in the CJAHL, all of which do not charge their players. HHHHHHMMMMMMMM, wonder why the USAH can't do this?????????????It's actually quite funny, because all USAH is doing is pushing players to look elsewhere and in fact are supporting and assisting the growth of the independent and rogue leagues.

As long as people want to dish out all this money to a "CORPORATION" it will never change. Tyler finally had enough and saw the light..........."CANT FIGHT CITY HALL". A revolving door that will never stop turning.

 

Anonymous Jack Irons said ... (9:44 AM, July 12, 2007) : 

"EJHL was a INDEPENDENT LEAGUE when they started out. USAH saw how great they did and wanted them to be in USAH to build their "CORPORATION"."

No. The EJHL was a non-national bound, USA Hockey sanctioned Junior C league. The founder/ commissioner is the longtime chairman of MassHockey (the MA USA Hockey district) and had no intentions of leaving USA Hockey.

The rest of your post made little to no sense, and therefore does not warrant any serious response.

 

Anonymous Anonymous said ... (10:12 AM, July 12, 2007) : 

anonymous,

You seem to suggest that it is only USAH hockey that is guilty of some of these acts, and that the "rogue" leagues are some how the saving grace of youth hockey.

Do we really need to get into some of the unethical actions of the coaches/owners in some of the rogue leagues such as AEHL?

I continue to be amazed by some of the boarderline fraudulent claims that have been made by a few of these individuals, who in the end have no responsibility to anyone, seeing as they operate a FOR-PROFIT business.

 

Anonymous -Shaker said ... (11:15 AM, July 12, 2007) : 

We are not just talking about the AEHL. You have the IJHL, WHA and the new one in Canada, CEJHL.

Your issue of tid-for-tat of who has done what wrong or right and for PROFIT is not the issue. Because we could be here all day tearing down teams.

Should we even get into the Ft. Vancouver situation of that team PAYING PLAYERS and corrupting the NCAA Rules and Ethics to win a championship? Or should we also get into the mess Hudson Valley Eagles created by stealing players money and shutting the program down and not refunding the players.

We can be here all day discussing who does what wrong, whether it be USA Hockey or Independent Leagues.

The problem here is what USA Hockey is going to do to correct the mess they have caused.

IF USA Hockey is doing such a great job then the independent leagues should not even be brought up. But if player/parents are now looking elsewhere, then how can you blame the independent leagues.

If a program is doing a good ethical and upstanding job then players would not leave. Not sure why evey USA Hockey supporter is attempting to blame everyone else except the creator of the mess, USA Hockey.

Perhaps the new Jr. Comm. should just restructure the leagues the way they were before all of this Tier 3 garbage was installed. If players are good, then they move up, if not they stay where they are. True bottom lne is Colleges and Scouts deal with coaches and teams they have a trust and comfort level with to obtain players. Does not matter what your status is, but can the players play.

 

Anonymous Anonymous said ... (9:56 PM, July 12, 2007) : 

Every league should be under the same org. Give each league a clean slate (Money wise). Restructure the tiers. Start over fresh.

 

Anonymous Anonymous said ... (10:46 PM, July 12, 2007) : 

they are under the same org. Its called USA Hockey.

 

Anonymous badger said ... (8:18 AM, July 13, 2007) : 

You have to love it. USAH is self destructing and the hockey gods and supporting worshipers of USAH are delirious and are in dire need of excuses and trying to blame everyone else for their stupidity.

It's no wonder they were last in the NHL draft pick. Hell, the Europeans were even ahead of them.

CANADIANS RULE BABY. YAHOOOOOO

 

Anonymous Anonymous said ... (9:05 AM, July 13, 2007) : 

Was the last comment serious?

 

Anonymous Anonymous said ... (10:47 AM, July 13, 2007) : 

Worst thing in hockey. 4 Year midget age. When parents run hockey this is the outcome. They say juniors is about money. I'll take paying the 6k over the 12-15k any day of the week. This is the worst thing in all of hockey in 20 years. Where is the ladder of development?

Some of you idiots can stop whining about junior being about money. I just dropped 14k in AAA last year. My kids coach was paid 55k. He is now likely going to play B or III(what they call it) for $4500 for a coach who has 7years of junior A experience.

I know it is early, but my grief experience tells me that the junior guys have a better idea of how to run things than youth.

 

Anonymous Anonymous said ... (12:50 PM, July 13, 2007) : 

One guy’s look at Jr. Hockey, some of the issues and a possible solution that makes sense, but will never happen because USAH is more concerned with thumping their chests over the elite few rather than developing a wider base of talent.

The first issue is the basic difference between Jr. teams in the Midwest/West and the East. In the Midwest, the teams are all owned and operated by separate organizations. In the East most organizations have feeder Jr. teams which is why the EJ and AJ feeders like the Met and Empire have to stay at Jr. B because their parent has to be the “A” team.

My suggestion is first to put people in charge at USAH who are interested in doing the right thing. THEN do the following:

•Eliminate the NTDP and use that money to supplement a Major Junior level that they oversee and set the minimum requirements but is made up of independently owned organizations. Basically this experiment has been really successful in getting teams to win the U-17 and U-18 Worlds but when it comes to the World Juniors and overall Worlds, I don’t see the benefit. My own personal opinion is that that money can be used a whole lot better developing a larger range of talent in a Major Junior type of setting (not the Canadian version where players get a stipend).
•Establish a Major Junior level of hockey with the same basic requirements that the USHL has now and use the USHL (Midwest/West) and EJ (East) as the starting point for teams, ultimately growing to 15 in each league. They would draft players with some type of territorial restrictions for the first 5 rounds to keep the BEST in their specific home areas (Example: Draft would go West, East, West, etc (or vice versa) and if someone from the West chose an East player in the first 5 rounds the next team from the other group would have right of first refusal and would have to take that player or let him go. After round 5 it’s free game). USAH’s role in this would be to standardize an amount for operating expenses for each league based on their area’s situation and footprint, determine what is reasonably the responsibility of the team to provide based on their income potential (no profit based) and then supplement as needed.
•Allow 3 Jr. A leagues (NAHL, AJ and a new one in the West) of 15 teams each that will be allowed (not required) to charge their players up to $5000 only which would include EVERYTHING except skates but including billet. Minimum practice time required, etc.
•Allow 6 Jr. B leagues (the leagues from last years Jr. B). Fee maximum of $6000. Very similar to what there was last year, but limit the number of teams in each league to 15.
•Jr. C would be everybody else similar to last year.
•NO PLAYER STILL ELIGIBLE TO PLAY U-16 MIDGETS WOULD BE ALLOWED TO PLAY JUNIORS. ANYONE NOT MEETING NCAA AMATEUR REQUIREMENTS WOULD ALSO NOT BE ALLOWED (basically anyone that plays Canadian Major Juniors).
• TEAMS would be classified but Leagues would be designated as a level and only be able to have the appropriate level in them. Any team could petition USAH to move up or down (for a minimum of 3 years in either direction) USAH would have to approve and do so based on the team’s competitiveness and history at their prior level.

Obviously there are other issues to resolve, but this is a solid starting point for total revamping of the US Jr. system. Rogue leagues will pop up, and let them. As has been said numerous times, the scouts and such know where the real hockey is played and will scout accordingly.

Midwest is Best

 

Anonymous CentralScout said ... (1:50 PM, July 13, 2007) : 

As a Scout, we as whole DO NOT CARE if you are USA, Canadian or Euro nor what league or team you are on. The main premise for our search is that of your SKILL and INCREASED PLAY OF THE GAME AT THE NEXT LEVEL.

We have our contacts is ALL Leagues, yes, including the independent. If a player can play at or improve to our level we will take them, period. We could care less of titles or classifications gentlemen. Maybe once you (USAH) realize that, you will stop the childish title searches and havoc created to the game.

Can you not see that leagues like the EJHL (independent many years ago) and many others in Canada that have no political issues with "titles" or "egos" supply many players and do not get caught up in this mess. ALL of you should be concentrating on their SAT's, GPA's and Player-Bios to College's and making contacts NOW for their season coming up.

Hopefully for the ones that look beyond this will see the light and TRULY KNOW that scouts do not care about your league or team. ALL WE CARE about is player's skill, grades and character on and off the ice.

 

Anonymous Anonymous said ... (5:24 PM, July 13, 2007) : 

Those last two posts both make a lot of sense. As to structuring, I like two posts up, but have not really thought deeply about it as to specifics and potential impacts. Something of this order could be of great benefit.

The money thrown at the development team by USAH, for example, seems ill spent to me. Too much money for too little result. A few kids are selected as being worthy to get the benefit. Meanwhile everyone else (except the top levels -USHL, NAHL) pay their own way. Hockey is expensive, and not everyone with talent can afford the cost. Name another "farm" system that works even remotely like this. Personally know a kid or two that dropped out "because they were tired of playing hockey" when the real reason is that they and their parents got tired of paying for hockey when it became apparent that he probably wasn't going to make millions in the NHL.

Scout's points are well taken. Like I said way up in this string, if a kid has talent, the scouts will find him.

When will the people who run this sport decide to improve the game and the players, rather than protecting their pasture and gratifying their egos?

NewFan

 

Anonymous Anonymous said ... (11:55 PM, July 13, 2007) : 

i especially love teams that have been on a steady slope down as far as win/loss records and promotions of players can be "promoted" to a new label instead of folding. cajun, yellowstone, valencia, peoria, river city, idaho rattlers and some in cshl should just fold. i played for valencia and i know that last years team not one player moved on and the coach/gm picked the whole team based on fees. a steady downhill slope with no player movement last year at all and one kid should of been in the NAHL but gm was greedy and didnt promote him. the players before who moved on did it on their own time, they found the teams, they made the calls. valencia should do hockey a favor and fold. its a joke just cuz the gm is high in usa hockey they stay alive. how can this team that lied about attendance (the held public skates and counted those kids as attendants of the game). everyone in the stands were parents. it was like midget hockey. is this jr A?

 

Anonymous Anonymous said ... (9:56 AM, July 14, 2007) : 

It's kind of sad this is what hockey has come down to. Something for the kids has come to a money maker for alot of adults. When will USA hockey actually try to make an attempt to fix this?

 

Anonymous Anonymous said ... (3:17 PM, July 14, 2007) : 

So I think the question is...does anybody really know witch direction USA hockey is going with this? What is the point and what are they trying to accomplish. Also do we ahve any info on how nationals will work. Any other info is great also.

 

Anonymous Anonymous said ... (6:29 PM, July 14, 2007) : 

"It's kind of sad this is what hockey has come down to. Something for the kids has come to a money maker for alot of adults. When will USA hockey actually try to make an attempt to fix this? "

USAH won't step in to fix it, that would be admitting they made a mistake. You think they would swallow their pride and take the step backward to make it right when they think they took a step forward -- fat chance!

They didn't just screw up with classification status.. they screwed the kids.

 

Anonymous Anonymous said ... (6:46 PM, July 14, 2007) : 

good point

 

Anonymous Anonymous said ... (3:39 AM, July 18, 2007) : 

I love when some of the dolts on this board whine about it being for "the kids" and that the owners are getting fat off it.

I have 4 friends who all lost their ass owning hockey teams. 3 of those guys quit. The other one's team is making money and doing well. Let's see....3 owners quit...60 less positions for players. Do the friggin' math. Owners or organizations who lose money in hockey, or any sport for that matter, are bad for the game and more importantly, bad the kids.

If some of you owned a business instead of working for one you might know what I am talking about.

 

Anonymous Anonymous said ... (2:11 AM, July 20, 2007) : 

I know this won't be popular with all the IIIA people out there, but I actually like it.

To me it makes sense...2 leagues East, 2 in the middle and 2 in the West.

I don't care if the West and Central leagues will likely fall to the Eastern Leagues at Nationals. To me, where my kid plays means more than whose league wins Nationals. The IIIA thing simplifies things. I see all this bashing of the west leagues. I am not sure why. I have seen some of the Montana games when I was up there and they seem to have it going on. Also, I saw a Phoenix game where they played a tough Tuscon team. I travel alot and try to catch games on the road. While I think the EJHL might be better on the top end, these other leagues seem like they have stability.

 

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