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RE: [hockhist] Re: USHL, Junior hockey

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  • William Underwood
    ... debate and change so that they is no definitive answer... but I have a few more questions. If the USHL and NAHL are junior A and the EJHL is Junior C....
    Message 1 of 2 , Jul 31, 2004
      >I appreciate that the 'ranking' of the junior leagues is subject to
      and change so that they is no definitive answer... but I have a few more
      questions. If the USHL and NAHL are junior A and the EJHL is Junior
      where does the Empire Jr B Hockey League fit in? The team I looked at,
      Binghamton Jr. Senators, trumpet the fact that 2 of their guys will
      up" to play in the EJHL, and that 2 more are "moving up" to ACHA D2 or
      >college hockey.

      WELL below the EJHL in terms of caliber. Let me put it this way, we have
      a team in my area in the Empire League, typically one or two are
      POSSIBLE EJHL prospects. It is a league where it is fine to play in when
      you are young and THEN move on to one of the better leagues. Otherwise
      you are looking at college club level hockey (this is what the ACHA
      plays, no scholarship/non varsity status hockey where you do it more or
      less for fun) and not even the best of that level. Top teams like Penn
      State often take USHL or EJHL lesser lights for even that level.

      Anything outside of the USHL, NAHL, or EJHL is non starter to really
      advance to college hockey. Even the kid that San Jose took from junior b
      this year is a guy that most college people I know say should go to the
      USHL next...

      It is really low level stuff...about comparable to rec hockey or not so
      great high school hockey, the places where the kids that can't cut it in
      tier two or junior B play in Canada. You play there when you are 16 or
      17 then get OUT if you really want to play college hockey.

      >They also have a Binghamton Jr. C Senators affiliate which
      >plays in the "Mid-Atlantic development League".

      The MAD is a quasi midget league for young juniors.

      >Disregarding the whole classification debacle, it seems as though a
      development path is emerging for US kids, if they can start at 15 in a
      regional junior league, then have various Junior A/D1 college/D2 college
      options , they soon won't have to leave for Canadian Major Junior hockey
      >all. Is the number of USA kids in Canadian Junior decreasing?

      No. Nor will it. Major junior will always be the fast track to the pros.
      You don't; even get into a college program until nearly age 20 and by
      the time that you are done, junior grads have two or even three years
      pro under their belt. And this doesn't even mention the fact that they
      have their signing bonuses gaining interest in the bank while NHL teams
      wait and see if th7ey will even bother to sing a college kid. In junior
      they have a one year period, in college they can just bag you if you
      fail to live up to expectations after a year or two...

      Actually the level of play in college is going down. Not only are there
      too many programs but when hockey card money came into play in the early
      90's we began to see less and less top guys take that route. Plus the
      Euro draft came into things. I used to scout college in the mid 80's and
      can honestly say that there were a few prospects for the NHL and AHL
      almost every game. Now, it is a mecca for AA level recruiting, you know
      that the vast majority of kids will end up there. Today scouting for
      minor pro teams I have very few guys that I cross off as unsignable.

      Actually we see more Americans than ever going major junior, a lot of
      top kids have figured out the benefits

      >Also, the junior teams are affilated not only with various minor pro

      No they are not, it is strictly forbidden by NCAA rules. They use their
      names but this as far as it goes...

      >but also with minor hockey associations... all the "Southern Tier
      Association" travel teams for example are called "Junior Senators"...
      >for great marketing for the minor pro teams. And a boost for the kids

      The affiliations vary with local associations. Most of these teams are
      owned by an owner who collects tuition off of the kids unless you are A
      level. In some leagues, like the Met, owning a junior team automatically
      entitles you to own teams all the way down. Sometimes a building or an
      association could own a team. But it all comes down to the same things,
      kids pay to try out to pay to play if they make it!

      >Being North America, these 'affilated' teams all have different owners
      so are not like the club teams in Europe. Hopefully the suits can put it
      >together to give the kids the best development opportunity.

      Well there is little hope of that...too many egos and too many hands in
      the pocket and too little caring about the kids or the hockey. A CLASSIC
      story of this is the local Met league here. About 6 years back I tried
      to put an EJHL team down here with the logic that kids who are leaving
      the area tp play better hockey could stay at home with the same result.
      Good for the kids, good for hockey...bad for the egos of the gang that
      lines their pockets via the Met League who screamed bloody murder! Why?
      There is this motto "I'm all in favor of better hockey for the area but
      only as long as I do it and I', not going to do it." They even screamed
      when a friend of mine put a Empire League team here! He couldn't get a
      franchise in their league because of a DORMANT team sitting in his area
      so he went to the Empire. Now all he was doing was giving kids a chance
      tom play junior that wouldn't have gotten it...good for kids right? But
      the Met league gets no MONEY out of that so they tried to boycott his
      getting officials etc.

      Now fast forward to today...the Metro moose of the CEHL come into the
      area and tout themselves as junior A. Well they can do that as they are
      not a USA Hockey team. They also have a sponsor so kids DON'T PAY A
      DIME...what does the Met League do? Embrace them? No. Ignore them and
      figure they will fold under the tremendous costs? No, their egos
      couldn't stand that!. They form a new junior league that they called
      junior A until USA Hockey came down on them like a ton of bricks for
      calling a league that was to charge nearly 6 grand (5500 more than you
      are allowed at A) to players to play in it and be about junior F
      level...so the league finally plays...and people are PISSED as it is the
      same junior B stuff they were sold in the past classified as junior C
      and the junior b teams well they either looked more like C or were
      better than the teams in the new league! I was at a game with a USHL
      scout looking at kids for the OHL at a tourney this winter. We were
      watching a junior B game and a high ranking Met league official asks
      "what do you guys think of the other league"...my buddy nudged me and
      says "how long were we over there"...I replied "about 35 seconds" and
      wasn't exaggerating that much. The official shrugged and sighed and said
      "it's a work in progress". I almost asked "to what"...

      We now have an EJHL team down here. It took a while and for the EJHL to
      evolve a little bit since I applied. Do they get supported or embraced
      as a route up? After all they have to ice 70% of their line up from the
      Atlantic District, meaning locals, no more than 30% can be out of New
      England or wherever...HELL NO! We see the Met League take a few junior B
      sides in from New England and trying to hatch a new league which would
      try to entice EJHL teams to defect...

      Then we see the battles over tier one and tier two...

      Hockey is an incidental here, egos are paramount along with money. As
      opposed to trying to find ways to not squander the somewhat limited
      hockey assets that we have here and try to increase the number of
      QUALITY players, we are content to serve the abundant egos in the game
      first and foremost and increase the larger and thus more lucrative rec
      player market.

      Sorry to spout off but all the incredible waste of talent and really
      poor treatment of many a player gets my ire up as a scout that knows a
      lot of these kids. The lies that they are told (one local crap
      merchant/hockey entrepreneur is actually telling kids that it violates
      NCAA eligibility rules to play junior when you still could be playing
      midget...in which case gee I guess about 70 % of D I is illegal and the
      NCAA is just blind...why...he owns a midget team), the amount of crap
      that goes on in their development is flat out sad! I also know some GOOD
      people in the business who actually DO try to help kids and see them end
      up on the short end to the egos latest silly idea get ripped every time.

      >Thanks again for the input, I thoroughly enjoyed spending an hour
      about the US junior system. Please post any news of leagues merging. One
      funny note... the domain name ejhl.com is apparantly available for only
      >US$3450. I have a feeling they'll be sticking with easternjunior.com.

      We shall see. A business partner of mine is now on the junior board (one
      of the good guys) and they have meetings this week...

      >Now adding the Binghamton Junior Senators to his hockey travel schedule

      I don't know if I'd do that Dave! At least go to a UHL game while you
      are in town...the level is pretty low...

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